"Fish oil is stupid" 3. April 2007 William Davis (13) "Fish oil is a waste of time and money. It's stupid. Just stop it."So a patient of mine was advised by another physician when he complained that he occasionally experienced a fishy aftertaste. This attitude perplexes me. After all the confirmatory data that support the enormous health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, including the 11,000 participant GISSI-Prevenzione Trial, you'd think this attitude would be history. What's a little fish aftertaste when heart attack risk is slashed 28%? Perhaps the tendency to pooh-pooh fish oil is because it's available as a nutritional supplement. This shouldn't make fish oil appear inconsequential. Far from it. If you witness the extraordinary power for fish oil to reduce triglycerides, you will be immediately convinced of its effectiveness. The ability of omega-3 fatty acids from fish to eliminate intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), the persistent abnormal lipoprotein which signals an inability to clear dietary fats from the blood, can also convince you. More than 90% of people with excessive IDL have it completely eliminated by 4000-6000 mg of fish oil (providing 1200-1800 mg EPA + DHA) per day. The fact that fish oil is available as a prescription "medication," as well as an over-the-counter supplement, causes some physicians to dismiss the power of the supplemental form. This is nonsense. The over-the-counter form is every bit as effective as the prescription form. The makers of prescription Omacor also make the claim that their preparation is safer and purer. That may be true, but I'd like to see independent verification from the FDA, USDA, or an unbiased organization like Consumer Reports before I accept their marketing as fact--particularly at $120 to $240 per month! If Omacor proves to contain substantially less mercury and pesticide residues, then that will need to be factored in. (Please note that both Consumer Reports and Consumer Labs measured no substantial mercury or pesticide residues in their analyses of 16 and 41 brands, respectively.) I try to persuade my colleagues that the idea of taking supplements is a wonderful trend that allows people to express ownership of their own health. What people need is guidance, not salesmanship for a more expensive version, nor dismissal of nutritional preparations that actually possess considerable benefits.