Omega-3 supplements have little effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality

omega-3 supplements

This article about omega-3 supplements is a companion piece to my recent article about fatty fish and cardiovascular disease. There is little evidence that two servings of fatty fish, which are filled with omega-3, have any effect on the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

I have been skeptical of supplements for a long period of time. Supplements are generally of low quality, they don’t prevent or cure cancer, they don’t prevent colds, they can’t boost the immune system, and they don’t prevent heart disease. Now there is a powerful review of omega-3 supplements that shows that it has little effect on cardiovascular disease.

Unless one has a chronic disease or is chronically malnourished, there are precious few instances where supplements are necessary. A couple of cases where supplements may be critical include prenatal folic acid supplements to prevent neurological defects in the developing fetus, vitamin C to prevent scurvy, and vitamin D supplements for individuals who do not produce enough endogenous vitamin D. In each of these cases, however, supplements are necessary to counteract a micronutrient deficiency that results from a chronic deficiency in the diet.

The benefits of omega-3 supplements have always been intriguing to me because it is one supplement that I thought might be useful for improving cardiovascular health based on some clinical evidence. But as I reviewed before, the evidence seemed awfully weak. With this new study, there may be no evidence whatsoever supporting the use of omega-3 supplements, at least for cardiovascular disease.

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Two servings of fatty fish every week — does it help your heart?

fatty fish

Nearly 30 years ago, I attended an American Heart Association meeting and sat in on a presentation about fatty fish in the diet. The presenter claimed that two servings of fatty fish helped reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and other issues.

This presentation occurred way before I made a presence on the internet debunking nutritional claims. I thought that the researchers behind the study were smarter than me, so who am I to dismiss their claims? Plus, I enjoy fatty fish with my sushi, salmon, and lox with my bagels. I mean, I was already practicing the diet, so my cardiovascular system must be working well.

The study was eventually published, and it became gospel in the cardiology world. Everyone who had anything to do with cardiology — physicians, researchers, cardiovascular device manufacturers — jumped on board with their two servings of fatty fish.

Then I grew up to be a cranky, snarky skeptic. And I wondered if this recommendation was actually supported by science. And that’s when the foundation of this belief that I held crumbled very quickly.

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COVID vaccination lowers cardiovascular and stroke risk

COVID vaccination

Complete vaccination against COVID-19 was linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular events such as acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke as secondary complications of a COVID-19 infection. These results were published in a peer-reviewed journal recently.

This is another huge benefit of COVID-19 vaccination that should be convincing evidence that the vaccine has both short- and long-term benefits.

As I usually do, I will review the study and results so that you can use this paper as further evidence that COVID-19 vaccination saves lives.

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Powerful study shows cardiovascular risk from drinking alcohol

alcohol cardiovascular

There has been a belief that drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol might provide a benefit to the cardiovascular system. Unfortunately for believers in that myth, new powerful scientific evidence debunks it.

I honestly never bought into it because it always seemed to be one of those medical myths that were never really supported by robust and repeated evidence. But it hung around for so long that even cardiologists thought that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol reduced the risks of cardiovascular events.

Drinking alcohol, even in moderate amounts, has a lot of deleterious effects like increasing the risk of cancer. So, maybe we should consider drinking alcohol to be along the lines of smoking cigarettes — evidence-based links to cancer, mental health, cardiovascular disease, and so much else. I know that I’m advocating a very unpopular point of view, but I’m into the science, not the societal, points of view.

So let’s take a critical look at this paper, and determine if it really does debunk the myth about alcohol and cardiovascular disease.

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COVID causes “substantial” long-term cardiovascular risks — get the vaccine

COVID-19 cardiovascular

A new study that includes nearly 12 million patients have found that COVID-19 causes severe long-term cardiovascular risks. This is convincing evidence that everyone who can get vaccinated should get vaccinated or boosted.

Let’s take a look at the study and find out what it says about COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease.

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Athletes are not collapsing after getting any of the COVID vaccines

men in white and red jersey shirt playing soccer

I’ve noticed that anti-vaccine activists are pushing a trope that athletes are collapsing on the field after getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines. I watch a lot of sports and read a lot of sports news, so if this were really happening, I would have noticed.

I have to pick and choose which dumb anti-vaccine myths I need to debunk. But since I love sports and I know that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective, I thought I’d look into it. And what I found was, as you might expect, nothing. It’s just one of those myths that anti-vaxxers make appear as factual but isn’t.

Let’s take a look at this silly myth.

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COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis – what are the facts

medical stethoscope and mask composed with red foiled chocolate hearts

Regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and CDC, are monitoring reports of myocarditis, a heart inflammation, after COVID-19 vaccines. Although if there is a link, it is exceedingly rare, anti-vaccine activists have already on this issue to make it appear that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.

My job is to look at this data and give you a scientific analysis of the observations and whether they are actually related to the vaccine.

Like with reports of other conditions, such as blood clots, after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, we need to examine whether myocarditis is actually related to the vaccine or just random events in which the incidence is no different than what would be predicted in a similar group of unvaccinated people. And if it is linked, we need to look at the potential risk and compare it to the risks of COVID-19 itself.

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Myocarditis and COVID vaccine – a rare event that may not be linked

COVID-19 vaccine myocarditis

Regulatory agencies across the world, including the FDA and CDC, are monitoring COVID-19 vaccine adverse events including reports of myocarditis, a heart inflammation. Of course, the anti-vaccine squad will probably jump on this to make it appear that the vaccine is dangerous.

My job is to look at this data and give you a scientific analysis of the observations and whether they are actually related to the vaccine.

Like with reports of other conditions, such as blood clots, after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, we need to examine whether this adverse event is related to the vaccine or just random events in which the incidence is no different than what would be predicted in a similar group of unvaccinated people.

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Chili peppers may be the key to long life and healthy cardiovascular system

chili peppers

A recently published paper describes how regular consumption of hot chili peppers may decrease overall mortality risk plus decrease risks for cardiovascular events. So pour your favorite hot sauce (I have several that I love) on your pancakes and through extra habañero peppers into your favorite meals.

Before you decide that taking the ghost pepper challenge with 1 million Scoville units every day of the week, let’s take a step back and allow your favorite feathered dinosaur to take a look at this study. As a warning, I think all nutritional studies should be taken with a grain a salt (pun intended). And this one is the same. Continue reading “Chili peppers may be the key to long life and healthy cardiovascular system”

Fried food increases cardiovascular mortality risk – sorry KFC

fried foods

As part of my ongoing series of articles that review interesting new studies, this week, I’m going to look at a new study that shows that fried food may be linked to increased risks of death from cardiovascular disease.

Now, some of you may be scratching your head and saying, “I’m sorry ye old feathered dinosaur, but tell me something I don’t know.” That’s the thing about science, we may think we know that eating a bucket of fried chicken or fish and chips is “bad” for you, but we can’t be sure until we have published studies that give us statistically powerful results.

Despite the beliefs by nearly everyone, including physicians, that fried food is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, studies have been inconclusive in establishing that link. A recent large prospective cohort study in Europe showed no link between fried food and coronary heart disease. The link between fried food and anything is hardly settled science, despite the conventional wisdom.

And since nearly 25-36% of Americans consume fast food, which presumably includes a lot of fried food, researchers wanted to reduce as many confounders as possible by narrowing the study group to women of a certain age.

And that’s what we have from a new study published in January 2019. Let’s take a look at the study and discuss what it may mean. Continue reading “Fried food increases cardiovascular mortality risk – sorry KFC”