Tagged: science

Zombie ideas

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, recently wrote a column about a zombie idea, which he defines as “an idea that should have been killed by evidence, but refuses to die.” I would argue that we have zombie ideas in the omega-3 space as well. The most prevalent is the recent deluge of studies from cardiologists and doctors that purport to show omega-3s are not beneficial for cardiovascular disease. Perhaps EPA and DHA are maligned because of their association with the broader dietary supplement industry, which is not trusted by doctors or consumers, but that should not blind researchers from examining the evidence objectively. 

Why the change of heart?

In contrast to earlier investigations about the effects of omega-3s on cardiovascular disease, media reports about recent studies have been generally negative. This does not mean, however, that the results were negative. In general, recent results have been either neutral (no effect found) or positive (beneficial effect(s) found). So why the change of heart?

Omega-3s in the military: ongoing research shows promise

Over the years there has been substantial interest in researching omega-3s and their health benefits for soldiers and veterans in a variety of scenarios. GOED recently talked to one organization, Samueli Institute, that is intimately involved in this work.


DHA and human brain evolution

I read a review recently in The Economist of Clive Finlayson’s The Improbable Primate: How Water Shaped Human Evolution and it prompted me to buy the book. This subject has fascinated me ever since I saw Michael Crawford give a talk on the importance of DHA omega-3 to the human brain and how its dietary availability may be a prime factor in the evolution (and potentially devolution) of the human brain. However, the more I have read about brain evolution, the more controversial every theory in this field seemed to be.

ISSFAL 2014 recap

GOED just returned from the 11th Biennial Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) held in Stockholm, Sweden. As you might imagine, there was no shortage of presentations and discussions on research related to EPA and DHA.

Omega-3s and prostate cancer risk

As many of you know, a study was published earlier this week linking omega-3s to an increased risk of prostate cancer. GOED has reviewed the study an prepared the analysis of the scientific inaccuracies and study design issues below. In addition, Adam Ismail wrote a more consumer-friendly blog column that was published this morning on Virgo's Omega-3 Insights page. We thought this would be useful for GOED members to share with concerned customers and consumers.

Dr. Jay Udani, SELECT investigator, comments on prostate cancer study

In GOED’s continuing response to the recent study linking omega-3s to prostate cancer risk, we recently interviewed Dr. Jay Udani, CEO and founder of Medicus Research, and an investigator on the original SELECT study upon which this paper was based. Dr. Udani shares his unique perspective and corroborates the many criticisms of the study. See what he had to say:

JAMA Oncology: Media sends the wrong message…again

The study last week in JAMA Oncology and its subsequent media coverage once again underlines the issues with the media — and its misrepresentation of the facts — all too clearly. This particular study examined whether or not one platinum-induced fatty acid (PIFA), a rare polyunsaturated fatty acid called hexadecatetraenoic acid (C16:4 n-3), is present in fish oils and if it is absorbed in humans when consumed, not whether it has an effect on chemotherapy. Yet media headlines implied that fish oil consumption can make cancer patients resistant to chemotherapy.

Putting the Grey and Bolland Research Letter into Perspective

It is easy to forget that science works through a constant process by which researchers replicate and revisit older studies. The assumptions and conclusions are discussed, the experiment is replicated, sometimes in a different population, sometimes using a slightly different dosage or research methods, and our knowledge grows, step by step. This may seem cumbersome, but it is necessary (the inevitable mistakes get corrected over time), and is actually one of the greatest strengths of the scientific process.

This, however, can also produce studies whose results and conclusions can contradict each other. In the omega-3 world examples can be found in the ongoing research on the related questions of:

  • Do EPA and DHA reduce the risk of chronic diseases and health events, like cardiovascular disease and strokes?
  • How big is this protective effect, and who benefits more and who less from it?
  • What is the best way to achieve this protection?

6 Takeaways from the Last 3 Years in the Omega-3 Industry

It’s common knowledge that the omega-3 industry has been in a sales slump for the past few years. While the market is now showing signs of recovery, there are definitely some lessons to be learned from the activity over the last three years. 

GOED's New Zealand Oxidation Paper Published

A new scientific paper authored by GOED and some of its members that attempted to replicate the findings from a paper in 2015 by Albert et al has been published in Scientific Reports. The original paper controversially claimed nearly all fish oil supplements in New Zealand did not contain the EPA and DHA stated on the label and were excessively oxidized. The GOED study found that nearly all — 96% — of the products tested complied with regulatory limits for oxidation for edible oils and 91% complied with label claims about EPA and DHA content.