Fish oil pills may do more harm than good, Aspirin use linked to blindness - Macleans.ca

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

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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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