advertisement

Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Is Omega 3 Fish Oil Safe?
I recently heard that omega-3 fatty acids don't help prevent heart disease after all. Is this true? What's the story?
A
Answer (Published 6/27/2006)

You probably heard about the results of a British analysis concluding that there's no solid proof that omega 3 fish oil found in salmon and other cold water fish prevent heart disease. A team of researchers reviewed the findings of 89 studies on how omega 3 intake affects the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke and published their findings in the March 25, 2006, issue of the British Medical Journal. They concluded that the evidence is "mixed."

Related Weil Products
Weil Vitamin Advisor for Supplements and Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try the Weil Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized recommendation.

The problem with this analysis is that it included studies of people using omega fish oil who had existing cardiac problems along with studies of people who did not. This makes it difficult to draw any conclusion, except that we need more and better studies with omega 3s.

While the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for healthy people aren't certain, for those who already have heart disease, they look pretty good. And we know that populations that eat fish regularly live longer and have less chronic disease than populations that do not. (We don't know if this is because fish displaces meat or because it has positive attributes of its own. Certainly, fish provides high-quality protein without the saturated fat present in meat and poultry.)

Despite the fact that we don't yet have incontrovertible proof of the benefits of omega 3s, most health experts in the United States recommend increasing consumption of omega 3 fish oil found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring or taking supplemental fish oil. My longstanding recommendation is to consume two to three servings of fish per week. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two fish meals a week.

To prove beyond doubt that omega 3 fish oil prevents heart disease and other medical problems in healthy people we would need more and bigger studies of longer duration. Unfortunately, such studies are very expensive and, to my knowledge, none has yet been launched.

What I do know is that including oily fish in the diet (or taking fish oil supplements) is particularly beneficial if you have high cholesterol, diabetes, symptoms of PMS, coronary artery disease, breast cancer, memory loss, depression, insulin resistance, high cholesterol or rheumatoid arthritis.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Explore additional information from Dr. Weil on omega fish oil or learn about his omega 3 fish oil complex.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Follow Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet and save 30%. Start your 14-day free trial now!

Stay Connected with Dr. Weil
Promote the health of your body, mind and spirit - sign up for Dr. Weil's FREE newsletters today!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

 
Copyright © 2016 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here

  

Q & A Library



Q
Is Omega 3 Fish Oil Safe?
I recently heard that omega-3 fatty acids don't help prevent heart disease after all. Is this true? What's the story?
A
Answer (Published 6/27/2006)

You probably heard about the results of a British analysis concluding that there's no solid proof that omega 3 fish oil found in salmon and other cold water fish prevent heart disease. A team of researchers reviewed the findings of 89 studies on how omega 3 intake affects the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke and published their findings in the March 25, 2006, issue of the British Medical Journal. They concluded that the evidence is "mixed."

Related Weil Products
Weil Vitamin Advisor for Supplements and Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try the Weil Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized recommendation.

The problem with this analysis is that it included studies of people using omega fish oil who had existing cardiac problems along with studies of people who did not. This makes it difficult to draw any conclusion, except that we need more and better studies with omega 3s.

While the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for healthy people aren't certain, for those who already have heart disease, they look pretty good. And we know that populations that eat fish regularly live longer and have less chronic disease than populations that do not. (We don't know if this is because fish displaces meat or because it has positive attributes of its own. Certainly, fish provides high-quality protein without the saturated fat present in meat and poultry.)

Despite the fact that we don't yet have incontrovertible proof of the benefits of omega 3s, most health experts in the United States recommend increasing consumption of omega 3 fish oil found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring or taking supplemental fish oil. My longstanding recommendation is to consume two to three servings of fish per week. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two fish meals a week.

To prove beyond doubt that omega 3 fish oil prevents heart disease and other medical problems in healthy people we would need more and bigger studies of longer duration. Unfortunately, such studies are very expensive and, to my knowledge, none has yet been launched.

What I do know is that including oily fish in the diet (or taking fish oil supplements) is particularly beneficial if you have high cholesterol, diabetes, symptoms of PMS, coronary artery disease, breast cancer, memory loss, depression, insulin resistance, high cholesterol or rheumatoid arthritis.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Explore additional information from Dr. Weil on omega fish oil or learn about his omega 3 fish oil complex.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related Topics