fish (oil) . Granted, most of it is observational, but hey, that's better than nothing. In marketing parlance, fish oil is also referred to as omega 3, a name & descriptor of its polyunsaturated biochemical nature. As it turns out, there are also omega 6's & 9's, both polyunsaturated fats, too. And as we all know, polyunsaturated fats are better for us than saturated ones, right? That's why product labels mention omega 3 content plus "other" omega oils. In fact, one brand touts its "balanced blend of omega 3-6-9 fatty acids" as if that alone makes their product better than every one else's.As an example, there's plenty of data looking at the benefits of
It turns out that most of us get plenty of omega 6's & omega 9's in our Westernized & Americanized diet. It's the omega 3's that we're lacking. But just because omega 6 & 9 are polyunsaturated, shouldn't they be good for us? Well, the devil is in the details.
In a randomized controlled trial published last week in the British Medical Journal , substitution of omega 6 linoleic acid for saturated fats did nothing to lower heart disease rates. If anything, this most abundant polyunsaturated fat increased all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease & cardiovascular disease.
In the study, 458 men 30-59yo who'd suffered a cardiac event were randomized in a single blind, parallel group controlled trial in which half were given omega 6 linoleic acid eg safflower oil & safflower derived margarine, to substitute for typical dietary saturated fats, eg animal fats, common margarines & shortening. Those randomized to control received no specific instruction or food. All were followed for up to 5yrs. Yet, those randomized to omega 6 linoleic acid had a 62% greater risk of all-cause mortality, 70% greater risk of cardiovascular disease & 74% greater risk of coronary heart disease.
Obviously this study needs to be replicated in a larger trial with participants w/o known heart disease to represent the greater population as a whole. But for now, it's pretty clear that not all omega fatty acids are created equal. Omega 3 fish oil is much safer than omega 6 linoleic acid, at least if you've recently had a coronary event.