Fish Oil or Snake Oil? [via]

By the 1800’s snake oil had been used for centuries by the Chinese as an anti-inflammatory. This oil was derived from the Erabu Sea Snake, which modern studies are proving to be a potent source of omega-3s. The reason is similar to the reason why fish oil is the snake oil of our own century.

Throughout the mid 1800s Chinese migrants toiled to build what is now known as the Transcontinental Railroad. When Chinese and other Asian immigrants settled the United States,  they brought homeopathic remedies with them. One such medicine was snake oil. By the 1800’s snake oil had been used for centuries by the Chinese as an anti-inflammitory.  This snake oil was derived from the Erabu Sea Snake, which modern studies are proving to be a potent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

So, why do we refer to any false medicine or product as snake-oil? To cut the long and complex history short, snake oil derived from American land snakes were not as potent as the Chinese sea-snake variety. The medicine was determined as bunk in a new land that was dominated by a culture that had no previous experience with the original snake oil and had negative notions regarding Chinese immigrants.

With promises of health benefits, many of the health tips and dietary supplements we take daily are consumed without much after thought. Fish oil was once thought to be an easy and sufficient source of omega-3s that benefit many areas of the body, especially cardiovascular health. Although this message is still believed, studies are now showing that that fish oil supplements are not beneficial to human health. In fact, some studies show that fish oil supplements may actually be detrimental to our overall health. Much like like snake oil of America’s Industrial Age, fish oil too has become a bunk product as well.

Despite being accepted by the consumer market as a health booster, recent studies have illuminated findings contrary to what is elaborated to consumers. It has been found in the JCB Journal Club’s meta-analysis that fish-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements do not reduce negative cardiovascular events. Similarly, published in the 2014 Journal of the American Medical Association “A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” analyzed numerous randomized clinical trials that investigated the influence fish oil has on strokes, cardiac health, and overall lifespan. The meta-analysisrevealed that fish oil supplements have no added benefit to health or mortality.

These findings reveal that fish oil offer no protective benefits for heart disease, cardiac arrest or overall mortality. Recent studies reveal that taking fish oil supplements on a regular basis increases risks to certain cancers. Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a trial lead by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that eating oily fish or taking fish oil supplements leads to a 43% increased risk for prostate cancer and a 71% increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer…

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