Fish oil pills may do more harm than good, Aspirin use linked to blindness

by Emily Senger

Those fish oil pills you’ve been popping every morning may actually do more harm than good, and frequent Aspirin use might up your risk of one of the leading causes of blindness, according to a pair of new studies.

Fish oil pills questioned

These pills are often seen as a way to increase heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but this might not be the case, according to a recent study from UBC. In a study conducted on mice, UBC assistant professor of biology Sanjoy Ghosh found that mice which were already eating a diet including vegetable oil actually has less ability to repair cells in their gastrointestinal system when they were fed fish-oil supplements as well.

“Our hypothesis is that levels of omega 6 [fats found in vegetable-based oils] are so high in our bodies that any more unsaturated fatty acid — even omega 3, despite its health benefits — will actually contribute to the negative effects omega 6 PUFA have on the heart and gut,”  Ghosh told The Vancouver Sun. “When there is too much [polyunsaturated fatty acid], the body doesn’t know what to do with it.”

Ghosh’s work was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

An Aspirin a day

The pill used to cure headaches, fevers and minor aches and pains — and also recommended in low doses to prevent heart attacks — has been linked to a higher incidence of age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading causes of blindness in older adults.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine followed 2,389 participants in Australia for 15 years. During four examinations over that time period, the study found that, of the patients who used Aspirin regularly, 9.3 per cent had developed age-releated macular degeneration after 15 years, compared to 3.7 per cent in non-Aspirin users.

“If these results reflect a true causal relationship, there are serious implications for the millions of people using aspirin therapy,” the authors write in the study.

This study is the most recent that questions the use of low-dose Aspirin as a way to promote heath. A series of studies published in March found that regular Aspirin use seems to reduce the risk of some cancers, while another study showed no reduce in cancer risk.

Aspirin use is also known to increase the risk of serious internal bleeding and ulcers.




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Fish oil pills may do more harm than good, Aspirin use linked to blindness

  1. Many people who take aspirin are heart patients who also have diabetes.. And diabetes is a risk factor for micro vascular complications including blindness..

    • Thank you for pointing out the diabetic association. How do these people even get on the news with studies like this.

      Correlation does not imply causation. All people in car accidents were breathing at the time of the accident. Therefore breathing causes car accidents. That is essentially this study in a nut shell.

  2. Fish oil for mice? That’s like feeding cows sheep offal which gave birth to Mad Cow disease. What next? Crocodiles fed a diet of carrots didn’t do well? We have plenty of evidence that living beings thrive on a species-appropriate diet.
    As far as humans go, our diets are far too high in Omega 6. The researchs shows that lowering that and increasing Omega 3 confers numerous health benefits.

  3. Your title is misleading…the fish oils / Omega 3s aren’t the problem. The research shows that it’s the over consumption of Omega 6s in our diet that set up Omega 3s for failure.

  4. We agree with the comment below. The headline, “Fish oil pills questioned,” is misleading. By no means does this one study on mice call into question the benefits and safety of omega-3s demonstrated by thousands of studies. Currently, the greater body of scientific evidence suggests that consuming a balance of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acid ratios is ideal for supporting your health. If you’re diet consists of processed foods then you will have an excess of omega-6 fatty acids and, when in excess, omega-6 fatty acids are known to support inflammation in the body. This study only reinforces that an excess of omega-6 fatty acids (which is what the mice were fed) may cause unwanted effects. The omega-3 fatty acids that were fed to the mice were not enough to provide the needed balance in this experiment. By improving omega-3 consumption through diet (fatty fish) and supplementation, the needed balance to the ratio omega-6:omega-3 can be achieved and consequently health is improved through the reduction of chronic inflammatory activity in the body. Again, omega-3 supplementation is safe and beneficial – but it is only one part of an overall healthy lifestyle. In addition to supplementing with what’s best for your personal needs, you should incorporate a healthy diet and exercise. To better understand what your needs are or to learn how supplementing with omega-3s could be beneficial for you, talk with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner. We are the trade association representing the dietary supplement industry. http://www.crnusa.org

  5. Methinks Maclean’s needs to read its own Science-ish columns, where the over-hyping of such studies is regularly criticized.

  6. Moral of the story: Cut vegetable oils out of your diet because they are toxic.

  7. how many mice have you seen catching fish? or taking fish oil supplements. this study proves nothing.why wouldnt they do the study on humans? title is misleading, study is pointless, wonder who paid for this one

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