Earlier this year (August 2009) cardiologists published benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA from fish oil) in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology after reviewing data on four trials involving almost 40,000 participants. The results were overwhelming that omega-3 fatty acids help with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, in treatment after heart attack and, most recently, in heart failure patients.
Again just recently (October 2009), British and American researchers (Harvard University) discovered the possible mechanism as to why fish oil has shown strong benefits in inflammatory disorders. They found that the human body converts DHA, a key omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils into Resolvin D2, a chemical which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Although the science based evidence is growing stronger now, it seems like in Europe, the medical system recognized the benefits of fish oil much earlier than in the US. A New York Times article published more than 3 years ago (2006) talked about this discepancy between the American and European medical system. The article stated that in Europe it is fish oil after heart attacks but not in the U.S. It went on to say that in Italy it would be considered tantamount to malpractice if the doctor fails to prescribe fish oil.
I am science based person but the reluctance of the US doctors to recommend supplements definitely contributes to the issue of people’s awareness and education levels when it comes to health and the field of preventive health care. The situation translates to people getting medical treatment when the situation is much worse and contributes to the increasing cost of health care.
On the other hand if we can improve people’s education and awareness around natural supplements such as fish oil that is absolutely science based, we may have less people on statins and other expensive prescription drugs and increase overall wellness in our country while reducing the cost of health care.
To help increase awareness, I recently started blogging about fish oil benefits.