The Dish on Fish Oil

Workout of the Day--September 1, 2015


In 30 Minutes:
1000m Run/1250m Row Buy In
then...
AMRAP in remaining time:
10 Ring rows
20 Sit ups
30 Air squats
40 Double unders/100 singles
250m Row

 
Nice overhead squat, Robin!

Nice overhead squat, Robin!

 

The Dish on Fish Oil

As I was driving to work this morning, I heard a preview of a story hinting that fish oil might not be all it is cracked up to be. Given that I frequently encourage athletes to consider taking fish oil and I take it myself, I really wanted to  hear what they had to say. I couldn't sit in the car and wait for the story as I knew the dedicated 5:30 AMers would soon be arriving. But when I had a minute, I went to NPR's website to find the story.  

To be upfront, I have not looked at the design of the study, sample size, who sponsored the research, etc. I am taking at face value that it was an unbiased study that was well-executed. That is definitely a big caveat, but I generally give NPR the benefit of the doubt. They were testing the effects of fish oil on slowing cognitive decline in 3500 people over 5 years. The average age was 73 and all of the participants had Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). There hope was that fish oil would slow the cognitive decline linked to AMD. The results of this specific study were disappointing. There was no significant difference in the control group as compared to the group taking fish oil. 

The conclusion that they drew from this is that fish oil may not actually help as we thought it did. I can't argue with the study, but I would like to point out that there is also very reputable data linking consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil to reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation, and help in the treatment of everything from arthritis to depression . Additionally, there is ongoing research related to fish oil and slowing the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. There is also my own subjective experience that regular consumption of fish oil reduces inflammation and overall soreness. The researchers are considering the possibility that the disease pathology may have been already too far along for fish oil to help or that the participants were too old for it to make a difference. Regardless of the outcome though, I am encouraged to see research occurring around supplements such as Omega 3s in chronic diseases versus purely the development of new pharmaceuticals. 

Read the article for yourself and do your own research. There are certainly a lot of people out there saying it isn't what it is cracked up to be. For the record, I'm still taking my fish oil and I will continuing advocating it for you guys. At this point for me, the benefits still seem to far outweigh any risks.