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If you’ve been following my health articles, you probably already know that heart health is a big focus for me. That’s because heart disease is so prevalent in my family.
That’s why I never miss taking my daily omega-3 supplement to get those valuable DHA and EPA fatty acids.
But in the past couple of years, fish oil has come under fire, with some researchers coming out of the woodwork to claim that it really has no benefit to your heart.
Now, however, thanks to a major study from teams of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, that debate has been settled for good. And, we have the answer to exactly what benefits fish oil can bring to your heart health.
Higher doses, lower risks
There are a couple of reasons the benefits of fish oil have been so hotly debated.
For starters, results from randomized control trials have been inconsistent. In fact, two reviews published last year couldn’t find clear evidence of benefit. But of course, other research has found numerous benefits for fish oil, especially for the heart and brain.
So, those Harvard and Brigham and Women’s researchers decided to run a meta-analysis of the research to end all debate.
The team of scientists included three recently completed large-scale trials, which increased the sample size for analysis by a whopping 64 percent. This meant that they were able to study the effects of fish oil on more than 120,000 people across 13 separate randomized trials worldwide. And, it included the data from the VITAL trial, the largest randomized trial of omega-3s to date.
And, here’s what it came down to…
The findings showed that people who took daily omega-3 fish oil supplements, compared with those who took a placebo, lowered their risk for almost all cardiovascular disease outcomes except stroke.
In fact, taking fish oil was associated with an 8 percent reduced risk for heart attack and coronary heart disease (CHD) death. This association was even stronger at higher doses of fish oil.
According to the researchers, this finding suggests taking doses of fish oil above the 840 mg/day used in most of those randomized clinical trials may provide greater reductions in heart disease risk. And, they say that considering the fact that several million people die from those exact issues each year, even a small decrease risk thanks to fish oil could translate to hundreds of thousands of lives saved.
“Although public health recommendations should focus on increasing fish consumption, having an overall heart-healthy diet, being physically active, and having other healthy lifestyle practices, this study suggests that omega-3 supplementation may have a role in appropriate patients,” said senior author JoAnn Manson, chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard Chan School. Manson is also the Director of the large-scale VITAL trial of omega-3s.
Now everyone’s on board the fish oil bandwagon
I mentioned earlier that there are other reasons that the use of fish oil for heart health has been debated. One big reason is that pharmaceutical companies fund research that helps prove their drugs work better. But it looks like they’ve suddenly jumped on board the omega-3 bandwagon…
Yep, prescription-strength fish oil is now a thing. You may have seen the TV commercials for Epanova and VASCEPA. Their claim to fame is a higher concentration of EPA and DHA. But the producers of these “drugs” may not know what people who’ve taken krill supplements for years have known…
You can take less krill oil than fish oil to get the same amount of EPA and DHA in your blood levels — no prescription needed. That’s because krill’s natural phospholipid structure makes it easier for your cells to absorb. In fact, studies have shown krill oil to be more effective than fish oil, even when given at lower doses.
One might think that prescription fish oil is the validation of what we’ve known all along about the heart health benefits of krill. But in all honesty, I think the drug companies realized they’ve been missing out on something big.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!