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Fish Oil, Fact or Fiction?

In recent literature there are thousands of studies and citations about the benefits of fish oils in the diet. Studies going back years have described how the EPA and DHA in these products have the ability to decrease a potent inflammatory agent called Arachidonic Acid.

With this ability to decrease inflammation it can be beneficial to virtually all tissues of the body, including joints, the brain and cardiovascular system.The attached articles describe these benefits. Some of the things typically seen with EPA include the reduction of triglycerides, improvement in arthritic disease, decrease progression of atherosclerosis and excess clotting mechanisms, and improvement in brain function. 

Fish oil is a very important component in the diet and is far better than having animal oils in the diet. Red meat and animal oils are full of free radicals that progressively attack and damage tissues and cells. These foods also contain a variety of harmful chemicals and products. In removing the animal oils and adding the best vegetable oils and fish oil, we are doing the body a wonderful service. 

I typically recommend 3 to 4 EPA capsules a day, taken throughout the day. To look at an excellent Fish Oil supplement go to my website and click on Optimal Health Products. You can scroll down the left side of the page or look in cardiovascular formulas. 

Thanks, 

Dr. Chris Calapai

 

Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Fish Oil and Mustard Oil in Patients with Suspected Acute Myocardial Infarction: The Indian Experiment of Infarct Survival.

Abstract  In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, the effects of results with fish oil (eicosapentaenoic acid, 1.08 g/day) and mustard oil (alpha-linolenic acid, 2.9 g/day) were compared for 1 year in the management of 122 patients (fish oil, group A), 120 patients (mustard oil, group B), and 118 patients (placebo, group C) with suspected acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Resultss were administered about (mean) 18 hours after the symptoms of AMI in all three groups.

Abstract  In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, the effects of results with fish oil (eicosapentaenoic acid, 1.08 g/day) and mustard oil (alpha-linolenic acid, 2.9 g/day) were compared for 1 year in the management of 122 patients (fish oil, group A), 120 patients (mustard oil, group B), and 118 patients (placebo, group C) with suspected acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Resultss were administered about (mean) 18 hours after the symptoms of AMI in all three groups.

The extent of cardiac disease, rise in cardiac enzymes, and lipid peroxides were comparable among the groups at entry into the study. After 1 year total cardiac events were significantly less in the fish oil and mustard oil groups compared with the placebo group (24.5% and 28% vs. 34.7%, p > 0.01). Nonfatal infarctions were also significantly less in the fish oil and mustard oil groups compared with the placebo group (13.0% and 15.0% vs. 25.4%, p > 0.05). Total cardiac deaths showed no significant reduction in the mustard oil group; however, the fish oil group had significantly less cardiac deaths compared with the placebo group (11.4% vs. 22.0%, p > 0.05).

Apart from the decrease in the cardiac event rate, the fish oil and mustard oil groups also showed a significant reduction in total cardiac arrhythmias, left ventricular enlargement, and angina pectoris compared with the placebo group. Reductions in blood lipoproteins in the two intervention groups were modest and do not appear to be the cause of the benefit in the two groups. Diene conjugates showed a significant reduction in the fish oil and mustard oil groups, indicating that a part of the benefit may be caused by the reduction in oxidative stress.

The findings of this study suggest that fish oil and mustard oil, possibly due to the presence of n-3 fatty acids, may provide rapid protective effects in patients with AMI. However, a large study is necessary to confirm this suggestion.  

http://www.springerlink.com/content/uv31771123r4q383/  

 

Fish oil and cardiovascular disease: lipids and arterial function. 

n–3 Fatty acids have been shown to modify several key risk factors for cardiovascular disease. However, it is not clear whether the apparent protection against cardiovascular disease is directly related to antiatherogenic functions of these fatty acids or is mediated through their modification of the risk factors through mechanisms not directly related to lipids. A major question concerns the importance of lipid modification, which is a potent outcome of fish-oil supplementation. On balance, lipid modification is likely to represent a significant antiatherogenic factor.

The benefits include increased HDL2-cholesterol concentrations, reduced triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein concentrations, reduced postprandial lipemia, and reduced remnant concentrations. In contrast, LDL-cholesterol concentrations have often been noted to rise and the potential of increased oxidizability of LDLs is potentially adverse with lipid modification, but this potential can be overcome with vitamin E supplementation. The characteristic lipid changes and the underlying mechanisms are reviewed.

Additional benefits of fish oils include improved endothelial function and better arterial compliance (elasticity). Future trials will be needed to determine minimum effective dosages of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids over lengthy periods and to show cardiovascular disease reduction through intervention. 

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/71/1/228S  

 

Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants. DHA is also required for maintenance of normal brain function in adults. The inclusion of plentiful DHA in the diet improves learning ability, whereas deficiencies of DHA are associated with deficits in learning. DHA is taken up by the brain in preference to other fatty acids.

The turnover of DHA in the brain is very fast, more so than is generally realized. The visual acuity of healthy, full-term, formula-fed infants is increased when their formula includes DHA. During the last 50 years, many infants have been fed formula diets lacking DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids. DHA deficiencies are associated with foetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria, unipolar depression, aggressive hostility, and adrenoleukodystrophy. Decreases in DHA in the brain are associated with cognitive decline during aging and with onset of sporadic Alzheimer disease. The leading cause of death in western nations is cardiovascular disease.

Epidemiological studies have shown a strong correlation between fish consumption and reduction in sudden death from myocardial infarction. The reduction is approximately 50% with 200 mg day(-1)of DHA from fish. DHA is the active component in fish. Not only does fish oil reduce triglycerides in the blood and decrease thrombosis, but it also prevents cardiac arrhythmias. The association of DHA deficiency with depression is the reason for the robust positive correlation between depression and myocardial infarction. Patients with cardiovascular disease or Type II diabetes are often advised to adopt a low-fat diet with a high proportion of carbohydrate. A study with women shows that this type of diet increases plasma triglycerides and the severity of Type II diabetes and coronary heart disease. DHA is present in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) and mother's milk.

DHA is present at low levels in meat and eggs, but is not usually present in infant formulas. EPA, another long-chain n-3 fatty acid, is also present in fatty fish. The shorter chain n-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, is not converted very well to DHA in man. These longchain n-3 fatty acids (also known as omega-3 fatty acids) are now becoming available in some foods, especially infant formula and eggs in Europe and Japan.

Fish oil decreases the proliferation of tumour cells, whereas arachidonic acid, a longchain n-6 fatty acid, increases their proliferation. These opposite effects are also seen with inflammation, particularly with rheumatoid arthritis, and with asthma. DHA has a positive effect on diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, atherosclerosis, depression, adult-onset diabetes mellitus, myocardial infarction, thrombosis, and some cancers.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10479465&dopt=Citation  

 

Dietary fish oil and olive oil supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical and immunologic effects. 

Forty-nine patients with active rheumatoid arthritis completed a 24-week, prospective, double-blind, randomized study of dietary supplementation with 2 different dosages of fish oil and 1 dosage of olive oil. Clinical evaluations were performed at baseline and every 6 weeks thereafter, and immunologic variables were measured at baseline and after 24 weeks of study. The 3 groups of patients were matched for age, sex, disease severity, and use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Subjects continued receiving DMARDs and other background medications without change during the study.

Twenty patients consumed daily dietary supplements of n3 fatty acids containing 27 mg/kg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 18 mg/kg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (low dose), 17 patients ingested 54 mg/kg EPA and 36 mg/kg DHA (high dose), and 12 patients ingested olive oil capsules containing 6.8 gm of oleic acid. Significant improvements from baseline in the number of tender joints were noted in the low-dose group at week 24 (P = 0.05) and in the high-dose group at week 18 (P = 0.04) and 24 (P = 0.02). Significant decreases from baseline in the number of swollen joints were noted in the low-dose group at weeks 12 (P = 0.003), 18 (P = 0.002), and 24 (P = 0.001) and in the high-dose group at weeks 12 (P = 0.0001), 18 (P = 0.008), and 24 (P = 0.02). A total of 5 of 45 clinical measures were significantly changed from baseline in the olive oil group, 8 of 45 in the low-dose fish oil group, and 21 of 45 in the high-dose fish oil group during the study (P = 0.0002).

Neutrophil leukotriene B4 production decreased by 19% from baseline in the low-dose fish oil group (P = 0.0003) and 20% in the high-dose group (P = 0.03), while macrophage interleukin-1 production decreased by 38.5% in the olive oil group (P not significant), 40.6% in the low-dose group (P = 0.06), and 54.7% in the high-dose group (P = 0.0005). Tritiated thymidine incorporation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells after stimulation with concanavalin A increased significantly in all 3 groups after 24 weeks, compared with baseline values.

We conclude that the clinical benefits of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids are more commonly observed in patients consuming higher dosages of fish oil for time intervals that are longer than those previously studied. Dietary supplementation with olive oil is also associated with certain changes in immune function, which require further investigation. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2363736&dopt=Abstract