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Fish Oil Used To Treat Heart Attacks in Europe, But Not in United States ?

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:35pm

San Francisco Chronic Back Pain Center comments on the benefits of Fish Oil:

We incorporate Fish Oil into our chronic back pain treatment protocol because there is scientific evidence that it helps reduce inflammation and pain with herniated disc patients. However, there are many other clinical uses of Fish Oil, including, treating heart attack victims. Here is an article I found on the Fish Oil Blog that I thought was interesting:

Currently the most e-mailed article on the New York Times Website is one about fish oil being used in Europe after heart attacks, but not in the United States.

Every patient in the cardiac care unit at the San Filippo Neri Hospital who survives a heart attack goes home with a prescription for purified fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids.

“It is clearly recommended in international guidelines,” said Dr. Massimo Santini, the hospital’s chief of cardiology, who added that it would be considered tantamount to malpractice in Italy to omit the drug.

Omitting omega-3 is considered malpractice? Not surprising. In Denmark, every nursing mother is required to start taking fish oil supplements within 7 days of childbirth!

As the article correctly points out, “in a large number of studies, prescription fish oil has been shown to improve survival after heart attacks and to reduce fatal heart rhythms.” However, in the United States, fish oil supplements aren’t typically recommended for people that have had heart attacks “are routinely offered more expensive and invasive treatments, like pills to lower cholesterol or implantable defibrillators.”

How likely are US physicians to prescribe fish oil following a heart attack?

A study published last month in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that only 17 percent of family doctors were likely to prescribe fish oil to their patients, including patients who had suffered a heart attack. There was a great need, the authors concluded, to “improve awareness of this important advice.”

Maybe your doctor has some ’splainin to do!

Well, hopefully more doctors will come around as this information proliferates. Fish Oil has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels, improve arthritis, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. It's worth learning more about, and the Fish Oil Blog is a good place to start.

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