Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil

Astrid Pujari, M.D. of The Seattle Times insists flaxseed oil and fish oil can help people live longer. Here’s why:
Eating fish at least two times a week seems to decrease the risk of heart disease for people who have never had a heart problem. The research is mostly from population studies, though, which are not considered the gold standard in medicine when it comes to "proving" something.


On the other hand, the data on fish oil is strong for people who have established heart disease. One large study from Italy found that people who took fish oil after a heart attack were less likely to die. Flaxseed oil has not been studied as well as fish oil for heart disease. But it does seem to do things that may benefit the heart based on some small studies. For example, it seems to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels, lower inflammation and make the blood less prone to clotting.

In addition, there have been large population studies that suggest that eating high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid — which is found in flaxseed oil — lowers the risk of heart disease. For instance, one study found that high ALA intake over about six years lowered the risk of a heart attack by as much as 59 percent.
Dr. Fuhrman’s not thrilled about either oil. Take a look:
Flaxseed oil
There is no need to consume flaxseed oil. The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to consume whole flaxseed. Plus, when you consume whole flaxseed, not only do you get the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, you also get the richest source of dietary lignans. Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.


Fish oil
Several studies have indicated that both fish and fish oil supplements are prone to contamination with toxic materials. For example fish and fish oils have been shown to contain large concentrations of dioxins and PCBs because the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans has taken a toll. Lipid peroxide contamination occurring with aging of the oil further complicates the supposed health benefits of fish oil consumption. Fish and fish oils also contains mercury. Data from the Center for Disease Control indicates that one in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States has unsafe mercury levels, and their threshold for safety is high. The major contributor to body mercury load is fish and fish oils, not dental fillings. Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load is from the consumption of fish.
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Fool - April 18, 2008 6:16 PM

If you look carefully at what Dr. Fuhrman has to say, you will find that he tends to make what should really be simple things to watch for into a major reason to avoid something.

This manner of his alarmist writings coupled with the fact that he is actually trying to sell a product of his by putting other products down is makes trusting his word very difficult.

Chuck - April 15, 2011 2:29 PM

At least one other doctor who has written a nutritional book (not that you need to be doctor of course)is a big promotor of krill oil as a better product than fish oil. But that doctor sells a krill oil supplement too. A word search at Dr. Fuhrman's site showed no results for krill oil. I've done a fair amount of research and a conclusion is there are few facts to rely on. We have to just make our own decisions based on generally accepted concepts. The human body is too complex to be "figured out" in such a way that perfect foods can be created to feed it.

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