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Pro-Aging: Do We Reconsider Fish Oil?

Friday, April 29, 2016

A vast amount of research suggests that eating fish regularly over a lifetime is good for our eyes and brain. But when it comes to staving off eye problems and cognitive decline in seniors, omega-3 fish oil supplements don't seem to be working all that well, according to an NPR interview with Emily Chew, PhD, deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute and chief investigator of the AREDS-2 study.

"The hypothesis was that fish oil supplementation would have an effect, but we found there was absolutely no effect on AMD or cognitive decline in this group over time.

"In lieu of eating fish, many adults now take fish oil omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The AREDS-2 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that fish oil supplements are no magic elixir when it comes to staving off macular degeneration progression or cognitive decline in older adults," reported Dr. Chew.

"If you want to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, the best way is to get it through food," says Elizabeth Johnson, PhD, who studies the role of antioxidants in eye and brain health at Tufts University.

Dr. Johnson goes on to say, "Nutrients don't work in isolation, they work together. If you want to translate these study findings into a meal, try a plate filled with salmon for the omega-3s and leafy greens for the lutein. Add in some whole grains, too, for B vitamins and minerals."

This makes sense, just as full-spectrum multiples make far more biological sense than too-few ingredient multiples or overhyped magic bullet single nutrients, because full spectrum multiples help address  important nutrient synergy issues.

However, in spite of murky omega-3 fish oil science, we think people who don't eat fish regularly should always include more plant-based omega-3s in their diet, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, leafy greens and most all beans. A reasonable amount of fish oil to boost EPA / DHA may also be recommended for those who rarely eat fish and for those who still consume a lot of high omega-6 junk food.

Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, and the Biosyntrx staff


Biosyntrx always focuses on maintaining health through the aging process, which translates to nutrient-dense food and exercise first. That's why we provide our Tasty Tuesday mostly nutrient-dense recipes, including fish and healthy grain recipes, in an attempt to get people out of the center of the supermarkets where the junk food lives and back into their own kitchens.

Unfortunately, fewer than 5 percent of the American public consume the government-recommended nine to 13 one-half cup servings of fruits and vegetables a day required to maintain long-lasting health. Actually, way fewer than 20 percent of the U.S. population even consume the old recommendation of five fruits and vegetables a day.

Nutritional supplements, including full-spectrum multiples, do not replace food. They do, however, work exceptionally well when consumed with a healthy meal because they help provide more of the powerhouse biological synergy required for optimal nutrient uptake, which isn't achieved unless the full symphony of nutritional players show up.

FYI: Our Friday Pearl supporting bibliographic citations are no longer available on our website.This is to meet FDA-monitored federal regulations that prevent supplement companies from using educational peer-reviewed science from the U.S. National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine to encourage eye and body health. The citations are available in the Biosyntrx office. 

If you view this as a possible government "Freedom of Information Act" issue, we recommend graciously contacting your elected state representatives and voicing your concern.



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Clinical references available in the Biosyntrx office.