The fish oil myth is going to be broken? The latest research review says it ’s actually useless

Eating fish oil can prevent cardiovascular disease. It has long been a "common sense" across borders. Behind it is a considerable market for fish oil health products.

Fish oil contains long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), is a common Omega-3 supplement, and is praised as a "vascular scavenger." However, a review study published by The Cochrane Collaboration on July 18 showed that taking long-chain omega-3 supplements is actually not helpful for preventing heart disease, stroke or premature stroke.

The protagonist of the report is Omega-3 fatty acids, which are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly of EPA, DHA and ALA. EPA and DHA are collectively called long-chain Omega-3 and are commonly found in deep-sea fish (such as salmon) and fish oil; ALA is usually found in vegetable oils and nuts.

The Cochrane study evaluated 79 trials and analyzed data from more than 110,000 people. It is by far the most extensive systematic review of the effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular health. Participants were male and female, healthy and diseased, covering North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The results showed that the risk of death in the experimental group supplemented with Omega-3 was 8.8%, while the control group with normal or low Omega-3 intake was 9%. There was no significant difference between the two.

Studies have shown that intake of EPA and DHA through supplements (such as fish oil) is actually not effective for protecting the cardiovascular, preventing coronary heart disease, stroke or arrhythmia. However, supplementing ALA with nuts or vegetable oils does not help reduce the risk of death and prevent cardiovascular disease, but it can reduce the risk of arrhythmia from 3.3% to 2.6%.

The study was commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is planning to update its guidelines on polyunsaturated fats. Despite the disillusionment of the fish oil myth, the report's lead author Dr. Lee Hooper still stated: Deep-sea fish is a healthy food. Although there is not enough evidence to prove that eating more deep-sea fish is beneficial, it can be used in daily diets. Fish replace some other unhealthy foods, it has higher iodine, selenium, calcium, vitamin D content.

TimChico, a professor of cardiovascular sciences at the University of Sheffield, believes that no food element alone can prevent heart disease. “Although some dietary methods can reduce heart risk, a certain beneficial element is separately found and supplemented with nutritional supplements. Provided, often with little effect. " In addition, he pointed out: "Such supplements will also bring a considerable part of the expenditure, so for those who come with a good desire to prevent heart disease, I suggest that they might as well spend their money on vegetables."

People's sustenance of Omega-3 supplements for cardiovascular protection begins with positive conclusions drawn from early research. It soon spawned a complete health care industry chain and a huge consumer market, making fish oil a profitable business. In the early 19th century, the commercial production of fish oil started rapidly in Northern Europe and North America. Although this latest systematic review has taken off the halo of fish oil in cardiovascular health through a large amount of evidence, this does not mean that the fish oil myth can easily end here.

In addition to preventing cardiovascular disease, fish oil is also believed to have certain effects in other areas. Even if these effects are overthrown by researchers in the future, the fish oil market will not disappear quickly under the joint efforts of producers and consumers. Like many health products, the true meaning of fish oil to consumers is often ambiguous between medicine and psychology. A study last year in the United States also specifically investigated the use of health products in different groups from the perspective of social psychology. It was found that females, older people, and subjects with higher scores in introverted control, self-esteem, and perception of health status would take health supplements in greater amounts.

The pursuit of health is both human nature and human weakness. And the business that can make money is often because it captures the weakness of human nature-the endurance of health products, to a large extent, also follows this logic.

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