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 Post subject: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:47 pm 
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So, two studies were published this week supposedly show that Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids may have no health benefit after all. I say "supposedly" because I can't get access to the actual studies; they were published in JAMA, which requires a rather high-priced subscription to read.

Anyway, the two studies, one of them reportedly very extensive, showed no measurable health benefit for people with heart trouble taking Omega 3 and/or Omega 6 dietary supplements. Make of that what you will; I'm still gonna eat salmon and sardines, because I like them.

Anyway, this is gonna hit the supplements industry where it hurts.

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/business/bloomber ... 326309.php

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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:49 am 
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Well, of course eating food which is high in Omega-6 fatty acids and eating supplements is quite different, though typically that point seems lost.

As another example, vitamin supplements have repeatedly been shown to have no effect. Doesn't mean we don't need vitamins.

And, of course, the omega-X thing could be a total red herring.


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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:25 pm 
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Paul Kierstead wrote:
Well, of course eating food which is high in Omega-6 fatty acids and eating supplements is quite different, though typically that point seems lost.


Not lost on the researchers, though. One of them complained to the press that it was hard to have a control group for this study, because people eat foods high in Omega 3/6 a lot these days. And, of course, doing a study with a controlled diet is preposterously expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:27 am 
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An interesting possibility:
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The supplement trials mostly involved people who had pre-existing heart disease or were at high risk of developing it, while the other studies involved generally healthy populations.

So it is possible that the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids lie in preventing heart disease, rather than treating or reversing it. At least two large clinical trials designed to see if this is the case are currently underway.


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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:15 am 
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Paul,

Right. However, without one or more studies showing that Omega 3/6 does actually prevent heart disease in healthy people, there's no particular reason to believe that is does, except for marketing by the salmon and flax oil industries. There was never particularly strong evidence in the first place, and this recent study has just refuted what evidence there was.

Note, though, that there are *two* studies showing that Omega 3 / Fish Oil helps prevent cancer, something that the recent study didn't look at. And, strangely enough, a study showing that Fish Oil helps with mental illness.

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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:46 pm 
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TheFuzzy wrote:
Paul,
Right. However, without one or more studies showing that Omega 3/6 does actually prevent heart disease in healthy people, there's no particular reason to believe that is does, except for marketing by the salmon and flax oil industries. There was never particularly strong evidence in the first place, and this recent study has just refuted what evidence there was.


Well, the point was that it didn't refute the preventative argument, as it didn't really address it. I'm inclined to agree with you on the lack of strong evidence (though "strong" and "dietary" frequently flee from each other in the presence of the word "evidence"), but find the marketing throwaway to be excessively cynical.


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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:18 pm 
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Paul,

Like it our not, things become "superfoods" due to the combination of a favorable health study and a well-funded industry marketing group. For example, the evidence in favor of olive leaf extract for heart health is just as good as Omega 3's -- but few people have heard of the former because there's no trade group marketing olive leaves. In some cases, such marketing groups even fabricate the studies entirely (e.g. "reservatrol").

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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:19 pm 
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Who cares if someone has marketed it or not? Not everyone is making their decisions on the basis of marketing. Lots of people, including me, actually spend some effort and time on the topics, and whether or not someone has spent some money trying to take advantage of some positive studies does not reflect on the actual value of the food. If we want to discuss bad marketing, sure, have at it, but if you want to actually discuss the merits of supplements or food, then their marketing is irrelevant. Omega-3 may or may not turn out to be useful, but it certainly isn't just marketing by salmon and flax oil industries, and their opinions aren't relevant in any case. It comes across as an attempt to slander anyone who feels that it might have value, and I think it is a cheap shot.


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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:30 pm 
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Hmm, that possibly came across more aggressive then I intended (too many years on the internet). TL;DR; don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, and over marketing doesn't change somethings effectiveness (or lack thereof).

Also, my bet is on no proof of significant benefit in the long run.


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 Post subject: Re: Omega 3 + 6 = 0
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:47 pm 
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Paul,

My point was that we don't have any good study results to support the idea that Omega 3's are good for heart health left unrefuted (that I've been able to find, anyway). There's no particularly reason to believe that Omega 3 is bad for us, but no particular reason to think it has any special health properties either, pending another study on Omega 3's and health maintenance.

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