Sep 5, 2013

Posted by in Ask Europaman, Health, Nutrition | 0 Comments

Fishing for the Facts about Fish Oil

Dear Europaman,

A few of my customers sent me a web link to an article indicating fish oils may increase risks of prostate cancer. Sounds fishy to me?

Mark, Personal Trainer

Dear Mark,

My, my, my, a lot can change in a year. Last summer, I published an article “Fish Oil 101,” touting the many benefits of fish oil. Now here we are caught in the nonsensical net of media hype, anti-supplement researchers, and flawed data.

In the so-called recent study regarding the safety of fish oil supplements, there’s a blatant problem with the way this particular research was conducted-and that’s because it wasn’t conducted at all. Let me explain.

It’s not a scientific study.

It’s a fish tale.

If you take a closer look at how the study was designed, you’ll see that the researchers never gave their subjects omega-3 supplements. In fact, the researchers did not even have any subjects in their alleged study. Here’s what they did have: old data.

The researchers came to this alarm-sounding conclusion that fish oil increases the rate of prostrate cancer simply by compiling old data from previous unrelated studies. Studies that were not designed to specifically look at omega-3 fatty acid associations. Let me repeat: This study was not set up to specifically answer the question of whether the intake of fish oil supplements leads to increased rates of prostate cancer development.

For all we know, the individuals in the study began taking fish oil supplements intentionally after becoming sick, in order to improve their health. The bottom line is that the researchers manipulated the data until they got their intended results. If that doesn’t sound fishy, I don’t know what does.

Why would researchers publish fishy results?

Unfortunately, this happens all the time. The sad truth is that many of today’s pharmaceutical companies are corrupting academic research. Companies often taken control over the way data is analyzed and published-and let’s be honest, emotionally charged and sensational headlines sell. It’s not unusual for results to be slanted to serve the best interest of the company and not necessarily the consumer. Research funding always comes at a price to the scientific community-and more importantly, to the public.

Don’t take the media bait.

Get hooked on the truth about fish oil.

Omega-3s like fish oil offer mega benefits to the mind and body. Fish oil has been proven to promote a healthy heart, reduce inflammation, slow the aging process, increase muscle growth, aid fat loss, enhance joint health, boost brain function, and improve skin care, to name a few of its many benefits.

The truth is that some studies suggest fish oil might actually be beneficial to individuals who already have cancer. So to claim that fish oil increases risks of prostate cancer is simply preposterous. Omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to lower the risk of heart disease. Just ask the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association recommends that people eat a variety of oily fish at least twice a week and people with heart disease might need to consume fish oil supplements.

The next time your customers are fishing around for supplement information on the Internet, be sure to cast a line of truth for them in the often polluted sea of research. As for me, I’m still taking my fish oil.

Yours in Good Health,

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P.S. Got a question regarding your buisness or the industry? Email europaman@europasports.com.

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