fish oil benefits

  1. Fish oil study doesn't tell the whole story

    Fishy business over omega-3 study

    Like fish stories? Well then, I've got a whopper of a tale for you today.

    A 24-year study of some 68,000 patients finds that fish oil is no better than a placebo at protecting the heart -- and if that's all you read, it sure looks bad for fish oil.

    But here's the thing: The "study" as described above -- and in the media -- doesn't actually exist.

    What does exist is a meta-analysis, or an attempt to create what seems like one big study out of data from a bunch of smaller studies.

    Done well, a meta-analysis can actually be useful. Done poorly, and it's like smashing together a bunch of hamburger and claiming it's a cow -- and I'll let you guess which one we got this time around.

    They've smashed together studies on healthy patients, studies on unhealthy patients, studies on patients who took meds with their fish oil, and studies on patients who took no meds, etc. etc. etc.

    It's the worst hodgepodge of data I've ever seen -- such a mess I have to wonder how they managed to reach any kind of conclusion at all. Certainly, some innocent numbers were water-boarded before it was all over.

    And don't be impressed by the phrase "24-year study" being tossed around carelessly. Makes it sound like the patients took fish oil or a placebo for 24 years, right?

    Wrong -- try a median of just two years. The "24" refers only to the fact that the studies were published over the last 24 years.

    Those aren't the only problems with the study, just the ones I can fit in this email.

    If you want to know the truth about fish oil, look at the other studies on this -- including a much better meta-analysis that found omega-3 fatty acids can cut the risk of an early death by 28 percent.

    Another study, published in 2010, found that 1 gram of fish oil a day can prevent death in heart failure patients.

    And those aren't the only reasons to keep taking your fish oil. I've got more coming up next. Keep reading!

  2. Listen to the fish

    Heard any good jokes lately? Here's one of my favorites: Stay away from fats.

    But if you listen to that one, the last laugh will be on you -- because a new study shows how the omega-3 fatty acids you'd miss out on could kill your hearing.

    Researchers looked at data on nearly 3,000 people, and found that those who ate fish twice a week had a 42 percent lower risk of hearing loss past the age of 50.

    Trust me, those benefits aren't in the gills and tails -- they're in the fats. The study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a similar relationship between all long-chain fatty acids and hearing protection, with higher amounts of these oils leading to 14 percent dips in hearing loss risk.

    But wake me up when you find something new -- because longtime readers know I've been singing the praises of fatty acids for decades now, and I don't give a fin what the anti-fat fanatics think.

    You might say I'm deaf to them.

    Fish oil can also top mainstream drugs across the board: It's an excellent anti-inflammatory, a top-notch blood thinner, and will do more for your mental health than all of Big Pharma's psych meds put together.

    The best source of these essential omega-3 fatty acids is that same cod liver oil grandma gave you -- and probably threatened you with when you got fresh with her.

    Fortunately, now you can get fish oil in a capsule and not on the business end of an oversized spoon. You can also go right to the source for all your omega-3s: Fatty fish and beef from grass-fed cows, to name two of my favorites.

    For extra protection, be sure you're getting enough folate, a critical B vitamin that most people miss out on. It's added to cereal, but don't eat that carb-loaded junk -- get it from calf's liver instead, or at least a good supplement.

    And if you're really interested in protecting your hearing, stay away from sex meds. As I told you just a few weeks ago, drugs like Viagra can double your risk of hearing loss or deafness... turning those bedroom whispers into a silent picture show.

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