Fish oil is now the third most widely used dietary supplement in the United States, after vitamins and minerals, according to a recent report from the National Institutes of Health. At least 10 percent of Americans take fish oil regularly, most believing that the omega-3 fatty acids in the supplements will protect their cardiovascular health.
But there is one big problem: The vast majority of clinical trials involving fish oil have found no evidence that it lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
From 2005 to 2012, at least two dozen rigorous studies of fish oil were published in leading medical journals, most of which looked at whether fish oil could prevent cardiovascular events in high-risk populations. These were people who had a history of heart disease or strong risk factors for it, like high cholesterol, hypertension or Type 2 diabetes.
All but two of these studies found that compared with a placebo, fish oil showed no benefit.
And yet during this time, sales of fish oil more than doubled, not just in the United States but worldwide, said Andrew Grey, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the author of a 2014 study on fish oil in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“There’s a major disconnect,” Dr. Grey said. “The sales are going up despite the progressive accumulation of trials that show no effect.”
UPDATE: I just looked up “hypophosphites”, which Scott’s Emulsions claims to contain. According to Wikipedia, its primary use is for electroless nickel plating (whatever that is), proving that the modern purveyors of pseudo-supplements have nothing on the early pioneers in the business.
FURTHER UPDATE: History of Scott’s Emulsions here. I just love the internet.
I myself intend to follow the advice of my doctors (especially my primary care physician, Dr. Jeffery Weinberger, of Riverside) – if you can’t trust Jeff, who’s left?