Dr James Schaller
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Fish Oil Beats Statins for Lowering Mortality?

The April 11 2005 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine published a review of the effects of various lipid-lowering options on overall death and, specifically, death from heart attacks. Researchers from Basel Institute for Clinical Epidemiology and University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland reviewed an amazing 97 clinical trials published between 1965 and 2003.

The studies when combined included:

  • 137,140 men and women being treated
  • 138,976 control pateints not being treated

They compared the risk of death with diet treatment, lipid-lowering drugs such as statins, fibrates and resins, and fish oil omega 3 fatty acids and niacin. Basically, the treatments were diet, drugs and nutrient options.

First, the fibrate class of drugs failed to influence overall mortality and mildly elevated non-cardiac death.

Second, diet, resins and niacin appeared to provide insignificant benefits.

Third, statin drugs and omega-3 fatty acids significantly lowered both overall death rates and coronary heart disease death.

Specifically, death was reduced 13% by statin drugs and 23% by omega-3 fatty acids compared to those who did not receive treatment. Looking at purely cardiac death, statin drugs lowered the patient's risk 22% and omega-3 fatty acids lower the risk of cardiac death by 32%.

The superiority of omega-3 acids in lowering the risk of death and cardiac death cannot be simply explained by the relentless cholesterol clique. Cholesterol was only reduced 2% in this meta-analysis, with a 20% statin decrease. The protection provided by omega-3 fatty acids against heart arrhythmias, along with their anti-clotting abilities and anti-inflammatory properties may be responsible for their superiority in saving lives from this review.

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But do not expect your internist to suggest omega 3 fatty acids. They do not have drug reps teaching them about omega 3 fatty acids. And many of the physicians I have spoken to about them, seem to act like they are a fringe option. The fact is they are old dinosaurs with simple minds limited to their sample drug closet and the simplistic CME classes they go to learn "medicine." Real medicine knew years ago the power of fish oils. But you will not see any commercials from multinational drug companies on fish oil. You cannot patent fish.

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Please do not come to any conclusions from this abstract. I neither support nor oppose these comments.

They are merely passed along from a friend, to offer you ideas to discuss with your state board lawyers, the FDA, and your local trial attorney's. After consulting with them, you will know what is the best medical care for you. You might also want to ask a wide-reading physician.



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