Second Nature Care Blog

Reasons Not To Take Fish Oil Supplements

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 6, 2019 11:15:00 AM / by Isadora Guggenheim


Closeup of female workers hands cutting fish on chopping board-1Are we swimming in the wrong direction by taking fish oils? Dr. Peter D'Adamo posted an interesting review about fish oils in his Generative Medicine group on Facebook. It caught my eye because I believe in good scientific discourse, skepticism and careful analysis of all kinds of medicine whether it is naturopathic or allopathic. The review clearly stated that "there could be no possible expectation of general patient benefit with prophylactic fish oil use."

Prescribing fish oils was drilled into me in medical school as a treatment for contractures to depression to cardiovascular disease prevention. I bought it hook, line and sinker. I would recommend the "best brands" and note some clinical discrepancies; meaning: it did not always deliver therapeutic goals. I continued to prescribe fish oils as the best frontline anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals to quench the systemic inflammatory fires within.  Little did I know that it might be the lighter fuel for the fire within.  

Fish oils suffered some serious clinical setbacks in 2013. Three major fish oil claims were dispelled last year 1) EPA/DHA did not stop progressive primary and secondary heart disease 2) DHA was linked to increased high grade prostate cancer; evidence showed that long chain omega -3 fatty acids were involved in prostate tumorigenesis 3) EPA/DHA failed to improve macular degeneration and 4) EPA/DHA failed to help Alzheimer's patients.  

Large amounts of fish oils disrupt cell membranes and can impair oxygen getting into the cells. If the normal membrane structure is changed then the potential for cancer increases signficantly. The innermost lining of the our arteries is made of cells that contain Linoleic acid. When we eat or drink linoleic acid this gets deposited into the arterial intima cell membranes and causes inflammatory injuries.    

No matter how many antioxidants you add to a fish oil supplement, the oil becomes oxidized and rancid producing harmful aldehydes and peroxides that can be measured by lipofuscin or "liver age spots."  

A renowned cancer researcher, Robert Weinberg of MIT, is rewriting his leading textbook, The Biology of Cancer because inflammation of all kinds including ingesting fish oil accelerates cancer proliferation. In one study, marine oil's DHA was more inflammatory than trans-fats.

Fish oils were found to accelerate vascular aging as measured by arterial compliance "hardening of the arteries." Fish oils are the anti-anti-aging poster nutraceuticals.  A far cry from what we thought they were doing in our bodies. Fish oils were shown to create worse inflammation in diabetes.  Recently, China out surpassed the USA with diabetes and their consumption of fish oils has risen dramatically. We'll have to see what happens over the next ten years.  
Eating fish does not cause the problems that were mentioned above. The concern about eating fish centers more on chemical contamination, heavy metals and radiation. Ingesting large amounts of processed fish oils is the key question and perhaps the root cause of systemic inflammation - something that every practitioner is against. We're supposed to be helping our patients to better health.
It is a difficult task to examine a previous medical model that comes into question years later. The lipid physiology makes sense. I wish I could have formulated different questions in medical school. For now, I am going to make different recommendations for my patients. I took an oath of "do no harm" based on my current knowledge.  After analyzing the extensive review I might have to swim in another direction.

Topics: Mood Disorders, Allergies, Heart Health, Healthy Living

Isadora Guggenheim

Written by Isadora Guggenheim

Isadora Guggenheim, ND, FNP, RN, MS, CNS, LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
For all appointments: Tel: 845 358-8385 Fax: 845 358-2963