Flawed Study, Bad Science—Outrageous Conclusion

August 31, 2010
Category: Uncategorized

Writing 1+1=3 on a blackboard.You may have read that eating more omega-3 fatty acids doesn’t help heart patients. You absolutely will not believe what the researchers did to arrive at this result.

The researchers fed the poor human guinea pigs margarine—yes, margarine!—otherwise known as the extremely heart unhealthy form of fat called trans fat.
In the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers gave heart attack survivors between the ages of 60 and 80 one of four kinds of margarine: one that had additional omega-3s from fish, one that had plant-derived omega-3s, one that had both, and one without any added omega-3s (the control sample). The patients ate 4 tablespoons of it a day, on bread, for 3½ years. Researchers found no difference between the groups, no matter what kind of margarine they ate.
By now we thought that everyone, even conventional doctors, knew that margarine is made by hydrogenating oil, which creates a trans fat, which damages the heart. Did the researchers really think that adding a little omega-3 to it would make much of a difference?
The study designers also seemed blissfully unaware that there are different kinds of omega-3 fatty acids. Some are able to be utilized directly by the body, whereas others, like lenolenic acid derived from vegetable sources, need to be converted by the body before one can use them—and older people have increasing trouble making that conversion, much less older sick people.
Moreover, most fish oil is about a third DHA, two-thirds EPA. The researchers didn’t seem to know about previous research showing that only DHA helps the heart; EPA doesn’t have a significant impact. It isn’t that EPA is useless—it helps other conditions such as arthritis and inflammation—but it doesn’t seem to help the heart. (Dr. Frank Shallenberger discusses this research in his August 2010 RealCures newsletter.)
The bottom line: this study had a very small amount of DHA, some of it not bio-available, battling against a trans fat in elderly, sick patients. How could anyone expect an improvement? Did the researchers who put together the trial simply not know any of this and wasted the time and money? Or did they design the trial to fail?
It probably wasn’t the latter. The study’s leader, Daan Kromhout of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, noted that it’s generally recommended that people eat one or two servings a week of wild oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, or tuna. “The results of this trial do not change that,” he said, noting that there were no harmful side effects. “It’s still a good thing to eat fish once or twice a week.”
Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic said it may have been a matter of too little, too late—the dose was so tiny and the patients were enrolled many years after their initial heart attack—on average four years: “If you wait too long, sometimes you miss that window to benefit them.”
Kopecky also said he tells his heart patients to take 1,000 milligrams of fish oil daily. “The benefit potentially is so great that we tend to put patients on it quite often,” he said.
Fortunately, conventional medicine isn’t dead set against fish oil, the way it was for so many years. Perhaps this is because there is now an FDA-approved version. Being an FDA approved “drug” means that Medicare and Medicaid and the VA can use it. Too bad the FDA-approved version of fish oil costs 7 to10 times as much as fish oil supplements.

29 responses to “Flawed Study, Bad Science—Outrageous Conclusion”

  1. Send them back to school!

  2. Elaine Carmack says:

    Not too surprising considering that UniLever supplied the margarine for the study, saving the researchers from having to pay for the “study.” Not exactly “clean-hands” science. As always, follow the money.

  3. Arnold says:

    Any researcher who has legitimately earned his degree (PhD or MD) should be able to set up a study protocol to get the results needed to satisfy the Economic interests of the Grant making authorities.No doubt the researchers knew this, usually adjusting the dosage level and selectively discontinuing treatment after a limited time will do the trick. Direct Use of Margarine is a big red flag, but perhaps the carryover from the American Heart Association payoff was considered to have whitewashed the obvious dangerous exposure.

    • Kit says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think margarine is a “red flag” to a lot of doctors or consumers. My dad’s doctor took him to task for us using real butter for cooking and eating, telling him he MUST eat margarine to protect his heart. Yeah, okay… never mind it is full of hydrogenated oils, and the explosion of heart disease coincides very neatly with the introduction and medical establishment endorsement of margarine in the 1940s. We’ll make sure we switch right away. Uh huh.

  4. Beth Singer says:

    This sounds like a criminal act — feeding margarine to heart patients. These scientists should be made to account for their misdeeds before ethics panels.

  5. bill says:

    I know that the omega’s work! If I dont take mine after a day my joints hurt and my “ED” returns. I take 2000 in the morning and the same at night! I dont need any blue pill or anti inflamatory !~

  6. Richard says:

    It sounds like the study accomplished exactly what it set out to do: to obscure the dietary importance of omega-3 fatty acids.

  7. steve says:

    There was a time when the Hypocratic Oath meant something to doctors. When these doctors sell themselves to whoever has money, they put out information that can result in some people dying. Maybe the next time I go to a doctor, I’ll hire a Hell’s Angel to go with me. Fear will make the doctor do his job.

    • Tara sharma, M.D. says:

      I agree that some people in health care will do any thing to make a buck at the risk of putting general public in jeopardy. it is a shame to have such a study published in new england lournal of medicine.
      Unfortunately this lournal has previously published similarly flawed studies to discredit alternatives to drugs

  8. Evan E says:

    How bizarre. Why would they not have just used fish oil taken daily for one group and a placebo for the other for 4 years? Who the hell uses margarine to get omega-3’s? Corrupt idiots.

  9. judith says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been taking one 3-6-9- Omega supplement for some years. If I understand correctly, you are advising that I stop taking that and just get fish oil.
    Is it best to know what kind of fish it comes from…Are some better than others and are some actually harmful?
    Probably a stupid question, but I will explain briefly. I only weigh 97 lbs; however my cholesterol at last count was 240. In my family our bodies just manufacture it on it’s own; so I try to be very careful.
    I eat tuna in olive oil twice a week. Hope that is ok.
    Thanks for the good information you send me.
    Judith

    • Kit says:

      Judith, you’d be better off just consuming Omega 3s. You likely get at least 25 to 50 times the amount of Omega 6s you need in your regular diet, thanks to all the junk in our food. Your ratio of omega 3s to 6s should be 1:1, or 1:2, at most. Too many omega 6s can cause inflammation, among other problems. I have no idea how Omega 9s fit in to the picture though, so you might need to keep taking 9s. I don’t know.

    • Kit says:

      Also, you might want to search for Dr. Mercola’s views on cholesterol. He, and several other “alternative” doctors, believe current recommended levels are too low. Your 240 might be just fine, depending on your ratio of HDL. If your HDL is 25% or more of your overall cholesterol, then you’re in good shape. It’s supposed to be a more reliable indicator (according to Dr. M) than the actual numbers of the different types of cholesterol.

    • Judith, since our body makes so much of your cholestrol you should start taking MORINGA. it is a tree that is Pan -tropical and lowers cholesterol naturally. you can get it online from many companies. Go to pubmed.org, the Lig=brary of Medicine research service, and search moringa. A great start is #17089328 that tells in one sentence the many medicinal qualities of this great tree. It is called the Miracle tree and my cholesterol went from 289 to 170 in 18 months and the HDL “good” cholesterol went up form 38 to 68!!!! Your circulation and cholesterol will also benefit from pomegranate juice becasue it is the only fruit or berry that will enhacne the productiona and preservation of Nitric Oxide in your body. Nitric Oxide, as discovered by Nobel Prize winner Luis Ignarro in 1998, unclogs your artieries by taking the fat lipids out of your blood(the c holerserol). Then after the first article put in cholesterol and moringa and pomegrante. I helped start a compnay Poga Internatiopnal in 2007 that makes a drink with the moringa, aloe vera, and pomegranate seeds(so you don;t add sugar). we called it Poga Moonga, now a bigger company Xyngular.com/fred1 has purchased POga and is calling it Poga Xynga. it will be availabe stating this month from Xyngular; opr get the ingredients and mix your own. ALoe vera triples the bioavailability of all foods and nutrients so we use it as our base for the drink. I take the moringa in addtion to the drink and my heath has nver been better; 6’0 160 pounds at 57! Moringa detoxifies, and is even used to treat drinking water,, and this drink will bust your cholesterol problems while boosting your immune system and overall health. Live well!

  10. R Prasad says:

    Effectively it means toxic hydrgenated fats like Margarine neutralize the health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore, Margarine and all other trans fats should be banned immediately.

  11. Maggie says:

    I’m amazed that this study was done in the Netherlands! I’ve read and heard (and seen) that in Europe, alternative and complementary treatments, including supplements from food, are highly regarded, even by conventional MDs. This is the very FIRST time I’ve read of such an indiotic study from Europe — from the USA, well that’s a different story, isn’t it.
    The study I MOST detest is the NIH’s on women’s hormones. They still deny the greater benefits and lower risks of hormonal supplementation by bioidentical formula, although shamefully, they’ve done no studies on them. Their recommendations are based on their studies using either unopposed estrogens (known to be dangerous in promoting cancer) or synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone (progestin, also known to be risky in producing blood clots). The government should be testing the bioidenticals, for our protection, and not the synthetics, to promote the drug companies. If anyone is looking for better information on this topic, look up the Women’s International Pharmacy (Madison, Wisconsin), 608-221-7800, which pioneered the use of bioidenticals more than 20 years ago. They’ll send you a packet of educational material, including the research, and are also a reliable source for the bioidentical hormones for both women and men. (Also, Women to Women, who seem to prefer nutritional approaches but don’t rule out the bioidenticals.)
    Sorry if I’m off-topic as to hormones — just the topic of disingenuous and deceptive “studies” always reminds me of this serious betrayal of their citizens.

    • James says:

      Maggie don’t be surprised. It comes from the agricultural university of Wageningen. It is where Dr. Martijn Katan reigns. One of the worst lipophobes, a fraud like Dr Fredrick Stare was at Harvard. “It is good to drink a cup of corn oil a day”.
      The Dutch was in part funded by Unilever. They may not have been too pleased because they have been pushing their Omega 3 margarine as the healthfood it definitely is not.
      I don’t think this “study” is going to go very far. It has been ripped apart by several experts already. I read the Dutch version on the day it was going to be presented in Stockholm and pointed out then already the many confounders, apart from the fact that they were using margarine

  12. Wendy says:

    The elderly and disabled need more than fish oil! The government is paying 7-10X too much…like a screw that cost $10. Does the FDA want to stop all people from getting help from the Health food store…Big business? I pray people will always have the freedom to help themselves. Doctors are not trained in vitamins. Someone was taking 9 fish oil a day due to a doctors help. I take 2 fish oil, 2 evening primrose oil, 2 lecithin, phosphatidylserine/DMAE, CLA. I need a variety of oils to be ok…not just fish oil.

  13. jAMES YOUNG says:

    I WAS LEFT FOR DEAD BY DOCTORS FOR MY HEART CONDITON, I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO TAKE CARE OF ME AND WHY. I MANAGE MY OWN CARE.
    MARGERINE HAS NEVER BEEN HEALTHY FOR ANYONE EVER…..A SYNTHETIC DRUG COMPANY MUST WANT TO PROSPER, AGAIN……BAD STUDY ALL TOGETHER.

  14. Margie Kronewitter says:

    I got arthritic joints after MOLD exposure. Used to wake feeling like 1000 needles in joints. Now take 4 Fish Oil with 400 mg E nightly. If i run out, stiffness, then pain return in days. MOLD also caused fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, early dementia. It stops amino acids from working. My favorite nutrients are sub-lingual GLUTATHIONE & GABA.

  15. Margie Kronewitter says:

    I got arthritic joints after MOLD exposure. Used to wake feeling like 1000 needles in joints. Now take 4 Fish Oil with 400 mg E nightly. If i run out, stiffness, then pain return in days. MOLD also caused fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, early dementia. It stops amino acids from working. My favorite nutrients are sub-lingual GLUTATHIONE & GABA.

  16. Margie Kronewitter says:

    I got arthritic joints after MOLD exposure. Used to wake feeling like 1000 needles in joints. Now take 4 Fish Oil with 400 mg E nightly. If i run out, stiffness, then pain return in days. MOLD also caused fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, early dementia. It stops amino acids from working. My favorite nutrients are sub-lingual GLUTATHIONE & GABA.

  17. Margie Kronewitter says:

    I got arthritic joints after MOLD exposure. Used to wake feeling like 1000 needles in joints. Now take 4 Fish Oil with 400 mg E nightly. If i run out, stiffness, then pain return in days. MOLD also caused fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, early dementia. It stops amino acids from working. My favorite nutrients are sub-lingual GLUTATHIONE & GABA.

  18. Margie Kronewitter says:

    I got arthritic joints after MOLD exposure. Used to wake feeling like 1000 needles in joints. Now take 4 Fish Oil with 400 mg E nightly. If i run out, stiffness, then pain return in days. MOLD also caused fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, early dementia. It stops amino acids from working. My favorite nutrients are sub-lingual GLUTATHIONE & GABA.

  19. Margie Kronewitter says:

    I got arthritic joints after MOLD exposure. Used to wake feeling like 1000 needles in joints. Now take 4 Fish Oil with 400 mg E nightly. If i run out, stiffness, then pain return in days. MOLD also caused fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, early dementia. It stops amino acids from working. My favorite nutrients are sub-lingual GLUTATHIONE & GABA.

  20. Margie Kronewitter says:

    I got arthritic joints after MOLD exposure. Used to wake feeling like 1000 needles in joints. Now take 4 Fish Oil with 400 mg E nightly. If i run out, stiffness, then pain return in days. MOLD also caused fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, early dementia. It stops amino acids from working. My favorite nutrients are sub-lingual GLUTATHIONE & GABA.

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