In the modern world, many of us don’t get sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous health benefits and help to support heart, brain, eye and muscle health. There is extensive evidence to demonstrate their importance during all stages of life, despite the results of controversial new research.
The meta-analysis, published in the September 11 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, assessed the role of omega-3 supplementation on heart attack, stroke and death.
Researchers from the University Hospital of Ioannina in Greece concluded that omega-3 supplements did not lower risk of major cardiovascular outcomes, but industry leaders have dismissed the findings as ‘flawed’ and have expressed concern that the results could be taken out of context.
In a statement issued by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Duffy MacKay, ND, vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs for the CRN, argued that the results were skewed by the fact that studies on healthy individuals were combined with studies on diseased individuals under drug treatments.
It was also impossible for five researchers to control the diet of almost 70,000 patients over several years, as omega-3 fatty acids are widespread through foods, MacKay said.
"This study does not change the current recommendations by authoritative bodies such as the World Health Organisation, American Heart Association and the U.S. National Academies of Science, who recommend adequate consumption of omega-3 fats," said Mackay.
Omega-3 fatty acids are part of the biochemistry and building blocks of cells, and are in fact vital nutrients not drugs.
Blackmores Director of Education, Pam Stone, said omega-3 supplements were an effective, affordable way of getting the nutritional benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
"Many people don’t get the nutrients they need through diet alone, especially when it comes to omega-3s," said Stone. "Most of us don’t eat fish as often as we should, and that’s when a supplement can be convenient.
"The health benefits of omega-3 supplements are well-documented during all stages of life."
The heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids were first reported around forty years ago. There has since been widespread evidence to demonstrate the importance of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy, breast-feeding and childhood, as well as for the maintenance of general health and wellbeing for adults, and preventative health.