Omega-3s—The Latest

20 Jul

Can the omega-3 fats in fish oil live up to expectations? Results are still coming in. Some of the latest:

Memory.   Researchers studied 1,525 people in France and Monaco aged 70 or older who had complained to a physician about memory problems, a slow walking speed, or difficultly with showering, dressing, or another “activity of daily living.” None had dementia Each participant got a daily placebo pill, a daily omega-3 supplement (800 mg of DHA plus 225 mg of EPA), a “multidomain” intervention (diet, exercise, and cognitive training), or the omega-3s plus the intervention. After 3 years, the groups scored no differently on cognitive tests.

Inflammation.   U.S. scientists gave 21 overweight or obese people either a high daily dose of omega-3s (3,900 mg of EPA plus DHA) or a placebo. (The participants were also insulin resistant-that is, their insulin didn’t work efficiently.) After 6 months, the omega-3s had no impact on inflammation–or how well insulin worked–in the participants fat cells.

Cardiovascular disease.  In an update of its 2002 advise, the American Heart Association said that it was reasonable to take fish oil if you’ve had a recent heart attack (even though supplements lowered risk in some studies but not others) or if you have heart failure with a reduced ejection fraction. However, the AHA did not recommend fish oil if you have a high (or average) risk of heart disease or stroke or if you have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or atrial fibrillation.

What to do:   Talk to your doctor about taking fish oil if you’ve had a recent heart attack or have heart failure with a reduced ejection fraction.

Source:  Nutrition Action Health Letter June 2017

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