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Eating Fish vs Taking Fish Oil Supplements

Posted Nov 01 2012 3:00am
Shortcuts.  Get rich quick schemes.  Diet pills that allow us to eat whatever we want and still lose weight w/o exercising.  We all want these things.  But the sad fact is that there are no shortcuts in life, just hard work.  No easy path to getting rich.  Certainly, no miracle diet pills.  And when it comes to fish, it appears you have to eat them, not just swallow a bunch of pills.

In a meta-analysis published earlier this week in the British Medical Journal , the authors concluded that eating fish at least twice weekly lowered one's risk of stroke (both ischemic & hemorrhagic) compared to eating fish once or less each week.  Eating fish 5x/wk or greater lowered risk even more.  Furthermore, taking fish oil supplements made no impact on stroke risk, regardless of type.

To arrive at their findings, the authors systematically reviewed 26 prospective cohort studies & 12 randomized controlled trials involving 794,000 participants who suffered 34,17 strokes with an average follow up ranging from 4-30yrs.  
Even the editorialists advocated eating fish to reduce the risk of heart disease & stroke.  While they noted that secondary prevention might be small in those who are optimally medically treated, those likely to get the most dietary benefit are those w/additional risk and/or are less than optimally treated.  Bottom line, even those who don't like fish better start learning to eat it rather than looking for salvation in a bottle.
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