Claims to popular fatty acids originated from the authoritative research organization Cochrane.
What we know about omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the pillars of modern healthy eating. The usefulness of these compounds has long been beyond doubt. Then they believe that they reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, accelerate metabolism, and fight “bad” cholesterol. In general, they are irreplaceable.
These fatty acids have not synthesized the body on its own. Therefore, it is important to get them with food.
In such an irreplaceable status, omega-3 acids have firmly taken root in the diet. They have even been introduced in international medical guidelines for the prevention and treatment to prevent cardiovascular diseases. There have been dozens of studies supporting this. It has only recently emerged that the research is not all that accurate.
What’s wrong with omega-3 acids
Previous studies were of the so-called observational nature. Scientists have noticed that representatives of the “fish” communities, such as the Greenlandic Eskimos or several ethnic groups in Quebec, the incidence of heart disease are lower, and life expectancy is higher than the human average. As is clear from the definition, the diet of these communities is based on oily marine fish. Therefore, the researchers suggested that it was all about the omega-3 acids contained in fish.
Science has only recently reached a full-fledged systematic analysis. In review, Cochrane mentions 79 randomized controlled trials, which involved a total of 112,059 volunteers. A small digression. Such research is the basis of modern evidence-based medicine. They rule out any overlap. In one group, everyone eats fish and leads an active lifestyle (as in the “fish” communities), and in the other – entirely residents of nervous gas-polluted megacities are impossible. All categories of people – both active and nervous, and smokers, and fish lovers – are divided into control groups approximately equally.
Most of these studies compared cardiovascular disease risks in patients taking omega-3 supplements or eating foods high in fatty acids (fish oil, hazelnuts, vegetable oils such as flaxseed) and those taking a placebo or ignored omega-3. Doctors monitored the volunteers for 12 to 72 months. And did not notice the difference. It turns out that omega-3 fatty acids do not prolong life and do not improve the heart and blood vessels‘ condition, as previously assumed.
Does this mean that you can not take omega-3
Let’s put it this way: dumbfounded scientists are thinking about it. Cochrane’s official website published the world’s largest experts’ reaction to the news that omega-3 acids turned out to be a dummy. Some of the quotes are impressive.
Omega-3 supplements cost quite a lot. My advice to anyone who buys them in the hopes of reducing the risk of heart disease: Better spend your money on vegetables.
Tim Chico, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Emeritus Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Sheffield (UK)
There is no reason not to distrust Cocrane’s systematic analysis. However, omega-3 acids should not be written off either. First, the studies in the Cochrane review only looked at the link between omega-3 and cardiovascular health. Other possible beneficial properties of these fatty acids have not been studied so thoroughly. Today it is believed that taking omega-3s relieves depression, reduces the risk of mental disorders, fights inflammation and autoimmune diseases, and it may be so until proven otherwise.
Secondly, it is normal for the emergence of new data to force physicians to reconsider old recommendations. But no less authoritative studies may be presented that will justify omega-3. I mean, they will again confirm the effectiveness of taking these fatty acids to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
However, there is no such data yet. This means that buying omega-3 supplements and specifically introducing sea fish and nuts into the diet, in the hope of taking care of the heart and long life, is pointless. Better, really, spend your money on vegetables.
By the way, regular potatoes also have omega-3s. So you will definitely not be left without essential fatty acids.
Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff
Sources: Life hacker