It should have been big news. But once again, the silence was deafening.
Researchers in Norway looked at data from more than 23,000 people between the ages of 25 and 97, collected over 16 years. And they found that eating three or more servings of fish on a weekly basis was associated with a 22 percent lower risk of venous thromboembolism, or VTE. (VTE is when abnormal blood clots form in your veins. And needless to say, it’s deadly.)
But that’s not all. Taking fish oil supplements in addition to eating fish more than doubles the benefits. These subjects had a 48 percent lower risk of VTE.
Of course, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that there weren’t any earth-shattering headlines about this dramatic finding. Ignoring research like this—no matter how compelling—has become the mainstream standard.
Take the study I told you about a few months ago, for example. This was a high-quality meta-analysis of 70 clinical trials. And it showed that omega-3 supplements can lower blood pressure significantly.
And yet, as far as I can tell, not a single major media outlet reported on it.
I’m still scratching my head over it. You would think someone would have been interested in these stories. I can guarantee you if they were about a pharmaceutical drug, every news anchor in the country would be trumpeting the results. And sales would probably go through the roof in response.
Yet, fish oil—one of the very few supplements the FDA actually allows qualified health claims about—gets ignored. Again.
Meanwhile, last year every media outlet was falling over itself to report on one ridiculous study linking fish oil to prostate cancer risk. (Never mind that other research has clearly demonstrated that omega-3 supplementation can actually help to prevent prostate cancer.)
Without a doubt, there’s been a sharp shift in media coverage of the omega-3s.
Fish oil used to be a rising star. But apparently the mighty have fallen. Everything’s gone south, and most of what I see reported is negative now.
So what’s going on?
Well, the media seems to have grown a convenient conscience where omega-3 reporting is concerned. Some of the recent research showing impressive benefits was commissioned by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED). And, apparently, this connection diminishes the importance of the findings in mainstream journalists’ eyes. Regardless of the fact that this research represents the highest level of scientific evidence. And despite the fact that it was published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal.
The fact is, most published research is done through funding from a company that has some sort of financial interest in the outcome.
Case in point—EVERY clinical trial ever conducted on a pharmaceutical drug was funded by the company that makes it. So why is it okay for all the major news outlets to report on those findings? Why is it okay for the media conglomerates to blatantly take pharmaceutical money in the form of advertising?
We regulate tobacco and alcohol advertising, yet ads for addictive and dangerous medications run on every channel. (And don’t get me started on the sugar advertising that targets your kids during the shows they watch.)
The bottom line is, this lack of reporting has led 12 million consumers to stop taking their omega 3 fatty acids. This is sad, and downright irresponsible. Because the weight of the evidence is so overwhelmingly positive.
Which is why omega 3 fatty acids are one of my “desert island” supplements. I recommend 3,000 mg of EPA/DHA every single day. And this advice isn’t going to change anytime soon. If anything, these ignored studies are only strengthening my resolve that everyone should be taking omega-3s.
In fact, according to a report commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) last year, omega-3 supplements could lead to almost $1 billion in health care cost savings a year—for coronary heart disease alone.
Listen up ObamaCare: You wouldn’t have to ration health care if you prevented disease. A fish oil supplement that costs pennies vs. a 250,000 dollar coronary bypass surgery—you decide how you want your money spent.
“High Fish plus Fish Oil Intake Is Associated with Slightly Reduced Risk of Venous Thromboembolism: The Tromsø Study.”J. Nutr.June 1, 2014 vol. 144 no. 6 861-867.