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September 21, 2012


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I fell like Omega-3 needs to further research because it is known that fish oil does help with cholesterol, which in the end helps to reduce heart risk. Maybe the article means that omega-3 does not have a direct impact on the heart health? Meta-analyses are needed to be done to verify this article. Fish oil has been used for so long as a heart disease prevention.

I actually recently did a presentation on this topic last month. Recently, yet again, there was another study that came out saying that fish oil did not have any statistically significant benefits so it should not be used clinically. However, just because something is statistically insignificant does not mean it is clinically insignificant. What do we know? We know fish oil does a wonderful job lowering triglycerides. What happens if your triglycerides get too high? Patients are at a higher risk for atherogenic factors such as uncontrolled LDL and low HDL and in more severe cases pancreatits. Hence using fish oil to lower triglycerides caries many benefits that directly affect your cardiovascular health.

I agree with SS in that meta-analyses may be biased. This study is a revelation to me, because doctors have been telling my grandparents to take omega-3 supplements to promote heart disease prevention for years, and they take them religiously. Many elderly persons take omega-3 in very large quantities, thinking they are doing themselves a favor by taking omega-3 supplements and strengthening their heart, which may not be the case after all, and even put them at increased risk of bleeding. Considering a lot of people are on aspirin and/or Coumadin nowadays, doctors and pharmacists should make sure the patient is taking omega-3 supplements in adequate amounts, if he chooses to take them.

This is an interesting article regarding fish oil use in regards to heart disease. In all my teaching as a student, I have seen evidence that fish oils do reduce heart disease risk. I have not looked at the studies that are cited here, but I am interested in looking at what types of fish oils were used in these studies. There are many kinds of fish oil, so a few differences could definitely skew results. Also, I find results like discouraging. Not because they might be factual but because they could discourage some patients from taking a drug that might potentially help them. Hopefully, studies fish oil research will continue because it is an important topic.

Despite this negative press for fish oil supplements, I wonder about the implications of this data on overall cardiac health. It's back to the age-old debate; is lowering cholesterol or blood pressure significant if a product is not proven to produce significant decreases in mortality? Though this data does not show significant decreases in overall mortality, it also does not show there is no benefit whatsoever. Perhaps it still has positive effects on quality of life. More research is clearly warranted.

ML brings up an interesting point on how this study was conducted. It is interesting to see that two studies were weighted much more strongly than most of the other studies in this meta analysis. The study design is not something readers immediately evaluate when looking at an article such as this, even though it is incredibly important when it comes to evaluating the results. Thanks to ML for bringing this up for others to see!

The article will make it more challenging in counseling consumers interested in fish oil and omega-3 supplementation. Perhaps it is another reminder that there are no magic bullets, and reinforces the importance of a healthy-lifestyle.

While this study's conclusion may appear disheartening, if you examine the review further, the conclusion may not be so definitive. The 20 studies that were reviewed varied significantly between each other, and the weight of each study varied depending on the number of subjects enrolled. Two studies in particular carried a majority of weight (Tavazzi 2008, 28.99% and ORIGIN 2012, 26.23%). Most of the other studies were weighted as <1%. The higher weighted studies should be examined more closely before this generalization is made regarding fish oil. Doses of fish oil varied between studies, and this should be considered, as well.

I personally think that meta-analysis and systemic overview are overrated. people forget about the publication bias associated in these pooled analyses.
my father-n-law has been taking fish oil capsules for years and his blood pressure and cholesterol is under control.I would not tell him to stop taking the fish capsules unless someone come up with some severe side effect from it.

I agree with Angela's comment that omega-3 fatty acids have additional health benefits. The meta-analysis only shows that there may not be a benefit previously thought to exist, but it certainly does not show harm can occur after ingestion of fish oil or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids. This meta-analysis will likely cause additional clinical trial data to be released regarding the role omega-3 fatty acids can play in heart disease, which is great from a scientific evidence viewpoint.

Wow. This is article is very interesting, but it degrades the benefits Omega-3 fatty acids have been reported to have for years now. I wonder what this finding will do to the market and proponents of the use of omega-3 fatty acids for heart health.

This may be an unfortunate finding. I know I have encountered very many patients that take fish oil and omega-3 supplements due to their supposed cardiovascular effects. It will be interesting to see more information revealed on this topic once more research is done to determine a more definite answer. This will be useful to know as pharmacists to counsel our patients since this drug is widely used by consumers.

It is very interesting to see these results from such a large study. Omega-3 fatty acids are widely used to prevent heart disease among other uses. It would be beneficial to look at the characteristics of patients included in the studies, as it seems like a high number of deaths in comparison to the number of patients studied. Perhaps these patients were already at a much higher risk of death from any cause. I wonder how omega-3 fatty acids would compare to aspirin for heart disease prevention.

This article speaks to how new research can contradict commonly accepted ideas about health and medicine. Individuals should also keep in mind that fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids have other possible benefits besides heart health, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

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