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Is it time to give up fish oil?

In the latest report, published online Jan.31 in JAMA Cardiology, an international team led by Dr Robert Clarke from the University of Oxford analyzed the combined results of 10 fish oil supplement trials involving 77,917 people. elderly at high risk of cardiovascular disease. .

At doses ranging from 226 milligrams to 1,800 milligrams per day of omega-3 fatty acids, no significant protection against “major vascular events” was found overall among participants or for any subgroup. like those who have had heart disease or diabetes in the past.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean that supplements aren’t helpful, it does suggest a more nuanced consideration of who, if any, may benefit from taking fish oils and whether we might all be better off simply eating more of it. fish, although this too can have some disadvantages as well as advantages. (At the moment, I still do both.)

For example, large predatory fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuilefish, and albacore tuna may contain high levels of methylmercury, a toxin that would override any health benefits, especially for development. brain of fetuses and young children as well as adults. , Dr. Nesheim and Marion Nestlé, professor emeritus of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, noted in 2014 in an editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Levels of mercury and other contaminants in fish have since declined somewhat, but are not negligible.)

However, in both observational studies and controlled clinical trials, eating fish has been shown to promote optimal development of a baby’s brain and nervous system, which has prompted pregnant women and mothers to breastfeeding women to eat more fish rich in omega-3 while avoiding species that may contain mercury. or other contaminants such as PCBs sometimes found in freshwater fish.

Another concern is the environmental cost that could result if people ate more fish, given that “many oceanic fisheries are fully exploited or are in decline,” Nesheim said and Nestlé wrote. “In the face of limited supplies,” they added, the price of seafood would likely be “out of the reach of many consumers.”

Declining supplies and rising costs for wild caught fish have spawned a global fish farming explosion, which also has its downsides. For example, marine organisms used to feed farmed fish can decrease this vital food supply for wild stocks, and fish that escape from farms can alter the gene pool of wild fish.

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