Friday, 31 March 2017

Omega 3 fish oil – new evidence

Credit: Skeptical Raptor

You may have read recently on these pages, why omega-3 fish oil supplements appear not to work, & what can be done about it.1 In summary:

● cold water oily fish, such as salmon & tuna, in the diet, is protective against a large & diverse range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, dementia ...1

● benefits have been attributed to the omega-3 fatty acid which they contain
● omega-3 supplements have, as a result, become popular
● subsequent research has found that omega-3 supplements are ineffective

● only one third of the contents of a typical supplement is actually omega-3

● omega-3 in a typical supplement is oxidised, which makes it ineffective

● omega-3 is easily oxidised, which makes production of un-oxidised supplements difficult & expensive

● all of the above suggests that supplements would be effective if a pure, non-oxidised, source of omega-3 was available

● omega-3 supplements from “algal sources” are claimed to be suitable

Some of the material presented above has been queried by Professor Peter McLennan of the Faculty of Science, Medicine & Health at the University of Wollongong:

● many studies are flawed

● “main effect is not in preventing heart attacks, preventing the atherosclerosis, but indeed preventing that from causing fatal arrhythmias”

● “anti-inflammatory effects do take high doses, & it is quite effective in that.” – for arthritis 10 millilitres – 10 capsules per day

● fish oil is typically 30% omega 3 – this does not interfere with the therapeutic effect

● “It's very difficult to actually oxidise fish oil … had to bubble it with oxygen for 30 days or more to get a significant degree of oxidation.”

Podcast & transcript at:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – “Following up on fish oil”

1 “Can omega-3 fish oil supplements work?”,
/ algal sources Something fishy in the oil U.S. study replicates findings USA New Zealand Australia what's really in that fish oil capsule Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Health Report Dr. Norman Swan reducing your risk of heart attack stroke US study replicates findings New Zealand Australia far from what you think you are paying for Preston Mason pharmacologist Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School in Boston huge industry local stores very popular brands omega-3 dietary supplements laboratory lab capsules examine them for their content interesting observations omega-3 fish oil supplement a third of the overall product two-thirds other fats significant levels of saturated fat saturated fat source preparations remove other fats put it in as it's harvested problem omega-3 fatty acids generally oxidised interacted with oxygen like biological rust no longer effective test them oxides had no benefit biological activity important omega-3 fatty acids Cochrane collaboration trials of fish oil cardiovascular effect effect from fish oil oxidised quality issues confidence in any of these studies well-characterised well qualified product trials don't involve such products how can a manufacturer avoid oxidisation inevitable low-cost product extraordinary efforts isolate unoxidised forms omega-3 production of omega-3 by-product formation of proteins for poultry farmers large study New Zealand Auckland 30 different products over 80% had higher than accepted levels of oxidation parameters high levels of oxidation confirmed other labs Canada other parts of North America poor consumer industry that's not carefully regulated consumer beware lack of oversight levels quality omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils Preston Mason Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston research group Liggins Institute University of Auckland published extensive analysis fish oil capsules authors Professor David Cameron-Smith New Zealand. Welcome Health Report broadly the same results research fish oil study ability of fish oil to mitigate the risk of diabetes oxidative effects inflammatory effects of diabetes mitigation of diabetes inflammatory events elevated blood glucose fish oil participants in that clinical research same results saturated fatty acids capsules doses omega-3 fatty acids very high rates of oxidation gone off long chain omega-3 fatty acids one of the most unstable compounds on earth long very complicated very prone to oxidation start to go rancid very quickly just like leaving fish on the bench starts to go rancid taste awful very quickly CSIRO researcher saying published a similar study in November David Cameron-Smith data anomalies research journal authors Omega-3 Centre mouthpiece propagating benefits omega-3 commercial laboratory analysis analyses performed using techniques commercial in confidence best efforts supplements methodologies results methodologies are confidential consumer fish oil supplements by-product huge industry food stock most fish oil is farmed from ocean fish off the coast of Peru and Chile large trawling vessels processed onshore conditions ship shore processing can't verify the quality high throughput processing fish oil feeding fish meal single biggest product fisheries smaller by-product less valuable by-product fish oil reliable products market advice source abundant supply of fresh oily fish omega-3 reliable source manufacture omega-3s from algal sources unoxidised source of omega-3 algal sources Health Report Norman Swan Professor David Cameron-Smith human nutritionist Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland /