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Millions take these blockbuster drugs for 'heart protection,' and yet they are actually killing the well established heart protective properties of fish oil.
The published literature on the cardiovascular health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is increasingly contradictory, with multiple studies in the past demonstrating their significant cardioprotective properties, but with newer trials revealing far less certainty of a benefit, including null results.
What is behind this confusion and inconsistency?
Last year, we reported on a study published in JAMA which proposed that statin drugs are responsible for interfering with contemporary fish oil trial results by inhibiting the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids – a still widely unrecognized confounding variable which we have not found reported elsewhere. At the time of the JAMA report, this explanation was strictly speculative. Now, a new retrospective study lends significant epidemiological support to the hypothesis.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologists and titled, "STATIN USE MAY MITIGATE THE BENEFIT OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS SUPPLEMENTATION: A META-REGRESSION OF RANDOMIZED TRIALS," researchers performed a meta-analytical review of twenty three randomized and controlled studies reporting clinical outcomes in a total of 77,776 patients. Thirty eight thousand, nine hundred and ten patients received at least 6 months of treatment with animal-derived omega-3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA), concomitant with lipid lowering/statin therapy, whereas a control group of 38,866 patients received lipid lowering/statin therapy alone.
The study revealed that:
- Omega-3 fatty acids in combination with lipid therapy had no effect on total mortality and myocardial infarction [heart attack], with only a marginal reduction in cardiovascular mortality, with a 7% reduction in relative risk [.93; 95% CI, 0.73-1.02]
- Lower control group statin use and higher DHA/EPA ratio was associated with higher reduction in total mortality.
The researchers concluded, "Statin use may mitigate, and higher DHA/EPA ratio is associated with, the beneficial effect of PUFA supplementation."
What Is the Mechanism of Statin-Induced Cancellation of Omega-3 Fatty Acid's Beneficial Effects?
Research indicates that statin drugs favor the metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids, which in turn inhibit omega-3 fatty acids. The statin-induced preferential metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids favors the production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, contributing to a cardiotoxic state. Also, since omega-6 and omega-3 compete with one another as substrates for the same metabolic enzymes, their ratio in the diet is probably more important than absolute values. Additionally, omega-6 fats, contrary to omega-3's, increase insulin resistance, increasing the risk of diabetes. This may contribute to an explanation of the the well-known diabetogenic properties of statin drugs.
How Do We Really Know Fish Oil Is Therapeutic?
The mainstream media's news cycle fixates on the latest new study when it comes to medical and health reporting, often implying that if a significant body of positive results already exists in the biomedical literature, it should be relegated to secondary importance, if not all together jettisoned if a single new study contradicts it. At GreenMedInfo.com we believe the type of 'news' should be properly balanced and contextualized by the past research. In the case of fish oil and omega 3 fatty acid literature we have several relevant sections of on our database that clearly show their multitudinous benefit for cardioprotection and active therapy. Our fish oil section contains research on its over 100 health benefits. Our omega-3 fatty acid page is even more convincing, with over 200 health benefits documented for these essential fats. Conversely, we have documented over 300 adverse effects linked to statin drug use. Cleary, given the weight of the biomedical evidence, it is not surprising that statin drugs would interfere with the significant health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
For natural alternatives to synthetic suppression of cholesterol production, take a look at the relevant articles and research on our database:
- Sugarcane Extract Superior To Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs?
- Study: An Apple A Day Beats Statins For Heart Benefits
- Red Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol Naturally
- 100+ natural substances which lower cholesterol
- Health Guide: Statin Drugs
- Health Guide: Heart Health
 Michel de Lorgeril, Patricia Salen, Annabelle Guiraud, Sabrina Zeghichi, François Boucher, Joël de Leiris. Lipid-lowering drugs and essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in patients with coronary heart disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2005 Feb ;15(1):36-41. PMID: 15871849