CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Omega-3 Has Real Scientific Backing, Researchers Conclude

A high dose of Omega-3 fatty acids apparently helped rescued miner McCloy recover.

"Besides helping heal the brain, omega-3, which is probably one of the most studied natural supplements, has passed muster in helping heal the heart, pancreas, immune system and joints. Potent anti-inflammatories, omega-3 fish oil supplements contain the same fatty acids - DHA and EPA - found in fish. Scientists say the American diet is so depleted of these fatty acids that supplements are not just useful, but necessary.

"A recent analysis of several large studies published in the British Medical Journal said the fatty acids didn't possess the benefits touted in the medical literature. But many experts say that analysis failed to cover the wide range of scientific findings. Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that one large British study with a "sub-optimal design wiped out the benefits from all the other studies." He said many studies have confirmed omega-3 supplements reduce the risk for sudden cardiac death and protect against cardiovascular diseases."

The Newsday article, "Omega-3 moves into medical mainstream" (4/11/06) quotes researchers as follows:

"This has more evidence-based science than any other supplement," said Dr. Steven Lamm, an internist at New York University School of Medicine. "It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering triglycerides, and shift the balance between good and bad forms of cholesterol." Its powerful anti-inflammatory qualities also make it a natural for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases."

Omega-3 fatty acids are also mentioned in the IOM Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine as having some evidence-based successes.

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