Pfizer-Funded Study Falsely Claims Fish Oil Useless

A study claiming that fish oil provides no benefit in heart disease is being hyped as the final word on the issue. But is it? No, it is not. In fact, the study is absurdly blatant pseudo science, with two errors so glaring it's hard to believe they were made. Why do the researchers do it? Why do they care so little about the truth and your health?

Pfizer Logo Over Man Having Heart Attack

by Heidi Stevenson, originally published on Gaia Health.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine purports to show that fish oil provides no benefit whatsoever in prevention of heart disease.[1] At first glance, it would appear to be true. The study is, after all, double blind and placebo controlled, not to mention having a significant number of participants. But is it for real, or is there some sleight of hand at work?

There's one initial clue that should give pause. The study's endpoints had to be changed. That's always a bad sign. In fact, it breaks the rules of good research. But, they had to do it because they found that their study participants weren't dying as fast as they'd anticipated.

Now, if they'd been interested in the truth, they'd have tried to figure out what was wrong. After all, the odds of dying when people have signs of heart disease are pretty well understood. Otherwise, how could they possibly have anticipated the rate at which deaths would occur?

Of course, they didn't sit back and wonder what they might be doing wrong. Instead, they just added new end points to their study.

How They Cheated: Basic Trick

There's a blatantly obvious reason that the death rate was lower than expected, but we'll get to that in a minute, after demonstrating the study's primary flaw:

There was no placebo!

Certainly, the write-up on the study claims there was, but the fact is that a placebo, to be legitimate, must contain things other than the active ingredients being tested. So what's being tested? Eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid, two of the substances in fish oil that are believed to be the active properties that provide its benefits.

The "placebo" used was olive oil. What's in olive oil? Eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid, among other substances. Why would anyone expect different results between subjects who took the active ingredients and a "control" group who also took the active ingredients?

How They Cheated: Secondary Trick

The death rate in both the fish oil and fake placebo groups was less than the author anticipated. Why would that be?

In fact, the study did demonstrate something significant. Fewer people in both groups died than the researchers anticipated. Why would that happen? Simple! Both fish oil and olive oil are beneficial in heart health.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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Pharma Trolls?



   Dr. Brian Peskin has warned against fish oil and any processed oils/fats that have been damaged/oxidized during processing and storage...I don't think he's a troll since damaged fats are a root cause of cell hypoxia and diminishing charge terrain.

 

Fats and oils should be freshfreshfresh...grind your own flax...Saturated fats do not spoil readily but fresh is still better butter.

Not a troll - providing accurate information.



It's certainly true that oxidized fats may be harmful, but irrelevant to this study. The subjects were given supplements, not fats for cooking.

Study



Gaia..This why I approach studies and supplement marketing with a cynical eye...and when they contradict basic science I usually side with basic science.  Fats oxidize and go rancid very quickly, why should supplements containing these fats be immune fr damage, even with special handling and refrigeration?

 

There are a number of internet entries on Peskin with what I view as relevant objections. He even claimed "pro-fish oil trolls are at work"....And in the end, we never really know the condition of fat molecules in capsules so fresh food sources are my choice.

Agreed!



I don't know if the oils or fatty acids used in this study were fresh or degraded. However, there is a hint:  The authors were surprised at the low death rate of subjects in the study. That would tend to indicate that something was working to benefit the health of both the active and control groups.

Fresh food sources are, of course, best. No one's arguing with that. If you want to see a study demonstrating that, then you need to look for a study that makes a comparison between fresh and non-fresh diets.

Nonetheless, in this study, considering the size of the samples - not to mention the results - it seems likely that the two groups had, on average, similar diets. That doesn't mean their diets were either good or bad, but it does mean that the two groups most likely ate much the same sort of food.

I agree completely that studies should be viewed with a jaundiced eye, marketing should be largely ignored, and fresh food is best.

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