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The American Heart Association guidelines recommend that everyone eat two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week. Now the Food and Drug Administration is considering a petition from allow claims that fish oil pills help to prevent heart attacks.

This is ridiculous. There is no evidence that fish oil pills prevent heart attacks. The data show that lack of omega-3 fish oils causes heart attacks, clotting, swelling and pain. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your body to make prostaglandins that prevent clotting, swelling and pain. Lack of Omega-3 fatty acids raises blood levels of Lp(a), a clotting factor that causes heart attacks. Lack of Omega-3s also raise blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol that causes heart attacks. Lack of omega-3s lowers blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks.

You can get omega-3s from whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts, and from fish. You do not find omega-3s in flour because the miller removes the omega-3s in the germ of a whole grains before he grinds it into flour. The germ contains the omega-3s. Wheat berries, soybeans, flaxseeds, and other seeds and whole grains are good sources of omega-3s and your body converts the omega-3s in seeds, nuts, beans and whole grains into exactly the same omega-3s that are found in fish.

A recent study from Denmark (1) shows that people who eat lots of sea animals had very high blood levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs, People who also smoked as well as ate a lot of fish had double the blood levels of people who did not smoke. Cadmium in tobacco smoke increases the body's uptake of PCB‘s from food. The key here is to eat lots of different nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans and fish. Do not load up on any one item. Certainly good nutrition does not mean you need to take pills. It means that you know how to eat a wide variety of good foods.

Danish Medical Bulletin April 2000;47:132-7.

Checked 8/31/05

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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