The Hemp Connection + [women's health]

More omega-3 fats doesn't benefit heart patients…OH REALLY?

This study was making the Twitter rounds today, and since a lot of articles seem to be tweeted based on their title without actually being read, I thought this would be one important to examine in a little depth.

According to the article published by MSNBC, a group of Dutch researchers reported that omega-3 fats given to heart patients"provided no additional benefit when they were already getting good care".

This is what I say to MSNBC and the Dutch researchers.

1. The time to intervene with omega-3 fatty acids is not AFTER the damage is done, it's long before. The reason you would want to insure adequate omega-3 fatty acid intake is to PREVENT the need for expensive care, not wait till you are sick and hope a supplement can undo the damage!

2. It's not clear what that"margarine with omega-3 fatty acids" was made of? If it happened to have a high omega-6 containing oil, then the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio may not have been beneficial enough to get the results you might expect to see. In fact, it may have RAISED the ratio, PROMOTING inflammation, rather than lower it.

3. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of the entire diet in the study was not reported. If that was not controlled or, it could have interfered with the results of the study.

4. All due respect to the nutrition expert quoted in the study, there are many other experts who understand omega-3 chemistry a whole lot better, who could have provided better insight. They're pretty easy to find on the Internet, with a few seconds of Googling.

Yes, I'm frustrated. This study suggests that heart patients have two choices for treatment: Nutrition or medicine. I thought responsible nutrition education was an essential part of the very best medicine. To present it as an either--or--is good for no one's heart.

Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79.