NEW ORLEANS -- A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that using fish oil supplements has little impact on reducing the risk of death from heart disease and strokes, but for years, doctors have told Medical Watch of the health benefits of fish oil, known as long chain omega 3 fatty acids.
And now the doctors confirm again, there is still overwhelming evidence for a diet rich in fish oil.
Dr. Nicols Bazan, head of the LSU Neuroscience Center, confirms research that fish oil protects brain tissue, eye functioning and could promote recovery after a stroke.
"One-hundred percent, 100 percent, and in fact there are several clinical studies showing a very close correlation between patients that have cardiovascular disease, and those patients who have cardiovascular disease are smokers, heavy drinkers, with bad dietary habits and they have liver dysfunction. And so when they have, for example, a stroke or a trauma to the brain, they are much more prone in the next decade to develop cognitive issues and specifically Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Nicolas Bazan in 2010 in a story about his research.
LSU obesity expert Dr. Melinda Sothern has explained in the past that pregnant mothers who get enough good fats from fish oil and decrease the bad fats in vegetable oils have healthier, leaner babies who could have better metabolism and health for the rest of their lives, unlike those who don't follow this diet.
"They are more likely during preschool years, during school years, during teenage and adult years, to have higher rates of obesity, higher rates of diabetes, higher rates of heart disease, and higher rates of hypertension," said Dr. Melinda Sothern of the LSUHSC School of Public Health back in 2011.
"There's some studies out now, that says if you take a prenatal vitamin three months before you're pregnant, you say how do I do that? Well you take them every day from age 12 to 50, a prenatal vitamin with DHA, and you decrease your risk of autism in your offspring by 40 percent as well as decrease congenital malformation and childhood cancers," said Dr. Michael Roizen of RealAge, Inc., a year ago. He has written the 'You' series of health books with Dr. Mehmet Oz.
"Probably, in my opinion, the greatest public health care disaster in the 20th century was the day parents stopped giving their children fish oils," said Dr. Barry Sears in 2008.
Dr. Sears of The Zone Diet fame has helped Hollywood stars understand that fish oil fights the cellular inflammation that keeps weight on you, and it is associated with aging poorly.
Ochsner cardiologist Dr. Chip Lavie, who published on the heart benefits of fish oil, says this new study does show that fish oil benefits the heart.
He suggests that even higher doses or, more importantly, using it regularly as part of a long term lifestyle, is what gives the health benefits and protection. Dr. Bazan agrees that the longer patients have a balance of DHA in their diets, the better the benefit.
The fish oil you need is omega 3 fatty acids and is in cold water fish such as salmon and tuna. It also helps people with diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, post partum depression and cancer.