Can Fish Oil Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Heart Attacks?


There is no solid evidence to show that taking fish oil supplements can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. But every year people spend billions of dollars on fish-oil because somewhere along the line they read omega-3 fatty acids prevent heart attacks and omega-3 fatty acids prevent dementia.

Lets face it, we’d all like to believe that we can avoid the horrors of Alzheimer’s and heart disease just by swallowing a pill every day; it sure beats exercise, mental activity and healthy diets. Millions of people buy omega-3 fatty acid supplements in the hopes of beating these dreaded diseases. But do they work?

Apparently not. A Forbes article by Matthew Herper, “Fish Oil or Snake Oil?” summarizes two major studies:

Taking fish oil did not lead to fewer heart attacks, fewer strokes, fewer hospitalizations for heart problems, fewer stent procedures, or less chest pain.

Jackie Bosch of McMaster University, the lead investigator of the study, expressed surprise at the result but said that a deeper look at the data showed surprising consistency. The effect, if any, is probably small, she says, and in people in the early stages of diabetes the fish oil does not seem to help prevent heart problems. If you were going to spend money on supplements, consider buying fish instead, she says. Maybe it prevents us from eating the other bad stuff.

No proof.

“The results of the available studies show no benefit for cognitive function with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation among cognitively healthy older people,” Emma Sydenham at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and her co-authors concluded.

Omega-3 fish oil supplements questioned

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Taking daily omega-3 fatty acid supplements doesn’t seem to provide any protection against declines in thinking and memory skills in older adults, a new review of medical evidence suggests.

photo credit: Stephen Cummings via photo pin cc

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