Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Omega 3, Nutritional Supplements, Heart Study, Healthy Diet

I read recently that a heart study conducted in Germany at the University of Heidelberg showed that in patients who have had a heart attack the use of omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish oils )did not make a difference in reducing further negative cardiovascular events. The study involved 3,800 people half of whom took a purified form of prescription omega 3 fatty acids and half of whom took placebo. They were followed for one year. Omega 3 fatty acids have been touted as reducing risk of heart disease but there had not been previously published work in a controlled study using a placebo which is the standard in assessing any drug's efficacy. What the study did not show however is whether or not use of omega 3 fatty acids reduce risk of heart disease in patients who have not had heart attacks nor if a longer follow-up period than one year might show positive results.

It made me think of nutritional supplements in general and how various recommendations have come and gone as placebo controlled trials show no added benefit to a good healthy diet. We have had L-tyrptophan for depression, mega dose vitamin C for a wide variety of problems, sAme for depression, vitamin E, and now mega doses of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids. Each was found no more effective than a normal well balanced and healthy diet and each supplement has been associated with some potential harm. What is not clear is whether supplements are the same thing as getting the substance naturally through diet. There may turn out to be some benefit in taking omega 3 fatty acid supplements but my recommendation will continue to follow the American Heart Association recommendations to eat fish twice per week.

Here at Cottonwood we do place an emphasis on experiencing the benefits of a healthy diet and education on how to eat well for a healthy lifestyle.

Thought for the day

"I have often been amazed at how every person loves himself more than he loves others yet places less value on his own judgment of himself than on the judgment of others concerning him".

Marcus Aurelius

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