Fishing for answers
Less than a week ago, a review published in the Cochrane Library suggested that omega-3 supplements have no significant effect on the reduction of heart disease stroke and premature death.
However, its findings and the nature of the study were disputed by some scientific experts, particularly as EFSA has already concluded that there is a positive relationship between EPA and DHA fatty acids on cardiac function (and a positive opinion from EFSA isn’t easy to come by!)
Funny, then, that just days after the publication of that review, a Chinese study has found that eating fish reduces the risk of dying prematurely by nearly 40%.
According to the researchers, eating large amounts of salmon, cod and haddock lowers women’s risk of dying from Alzheimer’s by 38%, and for men, it decreases their risk of dying from chronic liver disease by 37%.
So who and what are we to believe?
The truth is, no one can ever dispute the health benefits of eating a nutritionally balanced diet, which would obviously include plenty of fish, fruit and vegetables.
The reality, however, is that very few people in the general population are able to achieve that, no matter how hard they try. And if, like me, you have teenagers – I’d say it’s pretty much impossible.
So that’s where supplements come in. As the name suggests, they are designed to supplement the diet (and, yes, both my boys take a daily omega-3 supplement, as well as eating oily fish at least once a week).
So I’m one of those contributing to the estimated £60million spent on omega-3 fish oil supplements each year in the UK. But like many others, I suspect, I’m not doing so for cardiac benefits. For me, it’s more about the maintenance of eye health, immune function and, of course, brain health.
And so far, it’s all going swimmingly.