You aren’t going to believe this, but after all the controversy and naysaying over fish oil, guess what? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally recommending high-dose EPA—an essential omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil—to help prevent heart attacks.
But of course, there’s a catch. The fish oil they’re recommending is a “drug” called icosapent ethyl. And the agency unanimously approved it to prevent cardiovascular events (i.e. heart attacks, strokes, etc.) as an “adjunct” to statin therapy in patients with high triglycerides.
You didn’t actually think they’d admit that fish oil supplements were useful on their own, did you? It’s yet another disturbing example of how the FDA just can’t help falling into the pockets of Big Pharma. Even if they have to bend logic to do so.
Stumped by their own double standard
The approval of this fish oil—oops, I mean drug—was based on the results of the REDUCE-IT trial, which I shared with you a couple of years ago.
This study showed a 25 percent reduction in the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events with icosapent ethyl. (Patients either had diagnosed heart disease and triglyceride levels over 135, or they were high-risk patients with diabetes and one additional risk factor.)
The benefit was greater in patients with established heart disease—researchers found a 35 percent reduction in risk. But the high-risk population still saw a 16 percent reduction in risk, which is nothing to sniff at.
And yet somehow, the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee couldn’t decide on exactly who should be prescribed this “drug.”
They unanimously approved its use in patients with heart disease. But they couldn’t agree on whether high-risk patients without heart disease should take the patented high-EPA fish oil “drug.”
Now I don’t know this for a fact, but I’d be willing to guess that none of the “powers that be” had the same trepidation when it came to recommending statins for primary prevention of heart disease. Even though statin drugs are essentially worthless, with a boatload of nasty side effects to boot.
If you can’t beat ‘em…
As far as I’m concerned, there has never been any doubt over the value of fish oil for heart disease.
In fact, the powerful benefit of this supplement was the first thing I noticed when I started working for Dr. Atkins so many years ago. I even performed a small office-based study that proved exactly what this committee is voting on 30 years later.
But of course, when has mainstream medicine ever been on the right side of history where nutritional supplements are concerned?
As you may recall, the American Heart Association—whose advice typically isn’t worth the paper it’s written on—recommends eating fatty fish twice a week. But in the same breath, they also insist that people shouldn’t take non-prescription omega-3 fish oil supplements.
Why? Because the FDA doesn’t regulate them. And because, apparently, scientific research doesn’t support their use as a means of heart disease prevention. (A shockingly absurd instance of double talk if there ever was one.)
But are you the least bit surprised? Because I’m not. Triglycerides are the most important risk factor for heart disease and pancreatitis. And guess what? Statin drugs don’t lower them.
So naturally, Big Pharma found a way to slap their stamp on a nutritional medicine staple instead. And this new “drug” is now on the market for the treatment of patients with triglyceride levels over 500.
Meanwhile, high-quality, pure fish oil supplements are available without a prescription in plenty of stores already—for a fraction of the price. I recommend taking 3,000 mg of EPA/DHA per day.
And do you know what else sends those triglyceride levels plummeting? A diet without sugars and refined carbohydrates. In other words, the Hamptons Diet, the A-List Diet, the Atkins Diet… you get the picture.
The bottom line: Effective heart attack prevention doesn’t require a prescription pad or overpriced treatments. Just a commitment to common sense nutrition.
P.S. For more information on how to protect your heart, I encourage you to check out my Ultimate Heart Protection Protocol. This online learning tool features an all-natural plan to prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here!
“FDA Panel Recommends High-Dose EPA for CV Event Reduction.” Medscape Medical News, 11/14/19. (medscape.com/viewarticle/921374)