Hidden conflict of interest behind recent attack on fish oil

I recently came across an opinion piece about fish oil in Scientific American. The piece attempted to raise doubts about fish oil’s long-standing, science-backed heart health benefits.  

But when I dug a little deeper, I learned that the author works for a drug company. Which explains a lot.  

Plus, there are a few things you should know about the magazine that gave him a platform in the first place… 

Long history of favoring drugs and technology over natural approaches 

It doesn’t surprise me much that Scientific American would publish such an unfounded attack on fish oil. It seems to me they have always had an infatuation with any kind of modern technology and a disdain for natural traditions, cultures, foods, and medicinal approaches.  

They even seem to go one step further—arguing that Nature causes problems and modern technology fixes them.  

In the early 1990s in Washington, D.C., I attended a celebration hosted by Scientific American. It was held, appropriately enough, at the Smithsonian Institution. As they handed out awards, they suggested that “scientific specialization” is the answer to all scientific problems and social ills. And that the “generalists”—who have the ability to think outside the box and outside the specialists’ silos— had no role in modern science and would never move us forward.  

But in my view, these super-specialized experts and their high-tech tools and approaches are some of the VERY biggest problems in modern medicine (and a lot of other fields). This brings me back to their “hit piece” on fish oil supplements… 

Author has serious conflicts of interest 

In the article, the author claimed that several major studies published over the last few decades could not demonstrate an overall benefit of taking fish oil. (Although many noted reduced risk of certain heart outcomes.)  

Of course, the problem with many of those prior studies, as I always point out, is that the researchers used totally inadequate, ineffective, low doses of fish oil. Furthermore, the supposedly “failed” studies used an omega-3-based drug…not a dietary supplement. In fact, the drug was an early competitor of a similar omega-3-based drug developed by Amarin Corporation (a drug company the author now works for). 

The new omega-3-based drug that Amarin Corporation makes is called Vascepa®. It works by lowering triglycerides (blood fats) and competes in the marketplace with…you guessed it…fish oil supplements! (No wonder they want you to believe that fish oil supplements don’t work!) 

Worse yet, while this was just an opinion piece, the author has also written 12 scientific papers on fish oil over the past four years. And the drug company provided financial support for 10 of them! And—for one paper, employees of the drug company performed the critical, peer review! (A huge no-no among real scientists!)  

Of course, all the reputable scientific journals disclose conflicts of interest among their authors. But clearly, in this case, Scientific American didn’t. In fact, they only disclosed the author’s affiliation with the drug company after the damaging article ran…and after someone else called it out.  

In the end, it’s just another scary example of big pharma’s power and prowess. They like to sow doubt about natural solutions…often without understanding or caring about proper dosages…to drive people toward the costly and dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.  

But my advice remains the same… 

Three tips for supplementing with fish oil 

There are three things to remember when taking fish oil supplements…

First, higher intakes of omega-3s—like EPA and DHA—offer greater protection against developing and dying from heart disease. So, you always want to take fish oil supplements that contain as many omega-3s as what you’d get by eating a healthy serving of fatty fish—like salmon. (Always take a look at how much EPA/DHA content a product contains.)

Second, remember that fish oil supplements should literally supplement your diet. That meansthe amount of fish oil you should takedepends entirely on how much fish and seafood you regularly eat. In other words, there is no “one–size–fits–all” dosage recommendation. 

Third, it’s imperative to choose a high-quality fish oil supplement, as there are a lot of terrible brands that contain mercury and other harmful substances.  

(You can learn more about why quality matters when it comes to fish and fish oil, along with an easy breakdown of dosage recommendations, in the April 2021 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures [“Getting to the heart of the omega-3 ‘controversy’”]. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started.) 

Of course, in addition to taking fish oil, there are many other natural approaches to safeguard your heart and fight against heart disease. You can learn all about them in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. For more information about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now.  

P.S. Join me this Sunday, June 27th at 3 p.m. (EDT) for my Brain Boosting Summit. I’ll be discussing groundbreaking research into brain health that shows improvement in long-term memory, verbal memory, episodic memory, visual learning, and much, much more. But hurry! Demand for this exclusive online event is high, so please click here to reserve your FREE spot today! 


“No, Fish Oil Supplements Do Not Represent False Promise.” Scientific American, 9/30/19. (blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/no-fish-oil-supplements-do-notrepresent-false-promise1/) 

“The False Promise of Fish Oil Supplements.” Scientific American, 8/22/19. (blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-false-promise-of-fish-oil-supplements/?utm_source=Global+Organization+for+EPA+and+DHA+Omega-3s+List&utm_campaign=616ad3ab57-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_08_30_07_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_88a4a45d44-616ad3ab57-407086373)