Omega-3 Still Matters

Hundreds of clinical trials on the possible benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have produced conflicting results and varied claims, leaving frustrated consumers unsure what to believe.

A recent analysis done by scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and published in the Journal of Lipid Research, went through findings on the benefits of omega-3 and explained the differing results. Both fish consumption and dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplements may still help prevent heart disease; fatty acids from fish are more effective than those from plants; these compounds may have enormous value for serious health problems other than heart disease. Researchers posited that the effectiveness of modern drug therapies for heart disease may be one explanation for the conflicting findings on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, as many people taking omega-3s were already on statins, fibrates, or antithrombotics.

A wide body of other research, says Donald Jump, author of the analysis, makes it clear that omega-3 fatty acids also have health benefits that go beyond cardiovascular disease. They have been shown to improve visual acuity; improve cognitive function and reduce dementia; reduce inflammation and perhaps some types of cancer, such as colon cancer; and reduce total mortality.