And all the natural ways it can transform your health starting today
I often warn about the tragic results when mainstream researchers—who have no real knowledge of diet, nutrition, or dietary supplementation—get their hands on government funding to “make a little research.”
These academic research machines will study anything. They have labs, scientists, “medical writers,” legions of statisticians, and administrative bureaucrats at the ready. They’re addicted to amassing more and more research dollars from taxpayers to fund unnecessary studies to feed the hungry mouths of their research staffs.
That’s the only justification I can find for a new, fatally flawed meta-analysis conducted by researchers from seven countries (proving that academic research machines know no boundaries).
This international team analyzed 10 studies of more than 77,000 older men and women and reached this startling conclusion: Omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil do not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.1
Of course, this flies in the face of decades of research on the benefits of omega-3s and fish oil for heart health. Dozens of studies show omega-3s protect against abnormal heart rhythms, reduce blood pressure, and improve the function of blood vessels. They also lower blood lipids and counter chronic inflammation.
In fact, the evidence is so pervasive that the FDA even issued one of its very rare, qualified health claims for omega-3s, saying these fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Not to mention the hundreds of additional studies showing omega-3s’ ability to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cognitive decline, and cancer.
There’s very little doubt, outside of mainstream medicine, that omega-3s from fish oil are among the most important nutrients for all aspects of your health.
But you certainly wouldn’t know that from this new meta-analysis. Which, as it turns out, looked at studies that used pitifully small dosages.
The final straw for faulty fish oil dosages
Now that the sardine is out of the can, there’s a flood of criticism about this flawed meta-analysis, which was published in the January issue of JAMA Cardiology. In fact, my colleague, Dr. Jeff Bland, called it “one of the most controversial studies in recent history.”2
While I certainly agree, I did derive one positive benefit from this otherwise useless study. And it’s a big one. In fact, it’s led me to entirely rethink the fish oil dosages I’ve long recommended to readers like you for optimal health.
Based on the latest real science, here’s what I now recommend for fish oil consumption based on the following dietary scenarios…
If you eat A LOT of fish…
If you eat fatty fish or seafood (like wild-caught Pacific salmon, Atlantic mackerel, trout, shrimp, or sardines or anchovies in olive oil) at every meal—every day—there’s really no need for you to take fish oil supplements. But unless you’re a character from The Old Man and the Sea, it’s quite unlikely your fish intake is that high—at least, for most Americans…
If you eat quite a bit of fish…
If you eat fatty fish or seafood almost every day (about 3 to 5 times per week), then you only need to supplement with 1 to 3 grams of fish oil daily.
Make sure you choose a product that contains:
- 400-950 mg of EPA fatty acids
- 300-700 mg of DHA fatty acids
If you eat a moderate amount of fish…
If you eat fish or seafood two to three times a week, I recommend taking 4 to 5 grams of fish oil every day.
This supplement should include:
- 1,400-1,800 mg of EPA fatty acids
- 1,000-1,300 mg of DHA fatty acids
If you don’t eat any fish…
Sadly, and somewhat shockingly, the majority of Americans fall into this category. In this case, I recommend supplementing every day with 6 grams of fish oil.
Choose a product that contains:
- 2,000 mg of EPA fatty acids
- 1,500 mg of DHA fatty acids
Why getting the right dose is vital when it comes to fish oil
So how did this new, faulty meta-analysis actually help me reach this important new breakthrough on fish oil and omega-3 dosages?
Well, it has to do with the miniscule amounts of omega-3s in the studies the researchers analyzed. Daily dosages ranged from only 226 mg to 1,800 mg (1.8 grams) per day.
Let’s pause for just a second. I’d like to quickly point out that all of the real studies have found—and I’ve always recommended—you should be taking omega-3s and fish oil in food quantities, which are typically measured in grams, not milligrams.
But the researchers shamelessly included studies in their meta-analysis that used blatantly non-therapeutic and sub-therapeutic doses of fish oil. They should’ve known better! Using wrong, lowly doses should’ve been a red flag for these researchers to exclude those particular studies from further analysis.
But even in this flawed analysis, there were three studies that used a (barely adequate) dose of 1,800 mg of fish oil per day (whereas the other seven used pitifully low dosages well below that).
And the data from these three studies actually DID still show the benefits of supplementing with
The findings are in line with another meta-analysis published in August 2017, in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, showing a statistically significant 8 percent reduction in deaths from heart disease among people who took more than 1 gram of fish oil per day.3
Unintentionally, the JAMA Cardiology meta-analysis actually confirms what we know about omega-3s. It’s the dose that matters—always. And taking less than 2 grams of omega-3 EPA/DHA per day just isn’t going to do that much, unless you’re one of the few Americans who eats fish almost every day.
The lack of therapeutic fish oil dosages used in the meta-analysis likely explains the following statement from the study authors: “No matter how the researchers looked at the data, they could find no association of the supplements with lowered risk for death from heart disease, or with nonfatal heart attacks, or other major cardiovascular events.”
And, not surprisingly, researchers also found that the puny amounts of fish oil studied had little to no effect on people with prior heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels, or on people using statins (although not much can help people who are taking statins, aside from quitting them).
How do you choose a quality fish oil supplement?
There’s one more very important consideration that’s been completely ignored in all of the commentary about the JAMA Cardiology study. And that’s the quality of the fish oil product being used.
I first pointed out this fact in the October 2013 issue of Insiders’ Cures, when I revealed the truth behind a fishy study supposedly linking fish oil to prostate cancer (for more information, see page 7).
Among many other methodological problems with this study was the researchers’ failure to consider the sources of the omega-3s and fish oil, including the key question of quality.
Because, when it comes to supplements, it’s just as important to have the best quality (ingredients), as it is to have the right quantity (dosages).
Without knowing the quality of the supplements you buy, you’re taking a big chance. In other words, what you don’t know can indeed hurt you. Especially with fish oil.
So here’s what you need to know when choosing—and using—fish oil supplements.
- Labeling: This is perhaps one of the most important steps you can take when choosing a good fish oil. Pay attention to the “Supplement Facts” label on the back of the bottle, where the EPA/DHA concentration is listed.
This is what’s really important…
Some cheaper fish oils may have 2,000 mg of omega-3 fish oil listed on the front of the bottle, but—as the “Supplement Facts” label will show—only a measly 300 mg of that is EPA/DHA.
As I mentioned earlier, if you eat fish two or three times a week, you need about 4 to 5 grams (4,000 to 5,000 mg) of omega-3 fish oil daily with 1,400 to 1,800 mg of EPA fatty acids and 1,000 to 1,300 mg of DHA fatty acids. You can revisit my full list of dosage recommendations on page 2.
- Bottling: Look for fish oil supplements in dark-colored bottles only. Clear containers allow light to shine on the supplement, which can cause oxidization, thus making the supplement go rancid.
- Quantity: Although it’s tempting to save some money by buying in bulk, it’s not recommended with fish oil. It keeps for about 90 days after opening. So the longer fish oil sits around in a big jug, the more likely it is to spoil—and ultimately, those few extra dollars you saved will have entirely gone to waste.
- Expiration: Speaking of going to waste, always check the expiration date on the label before you buy. Make sure that you’ll have plenty of time to make your way through an entire bottle before it spoils.
- Storage: As I mentioned above, light can cause your fish oil supplement to go rancid, and the same goes for heat. Don’t keep this supplement in your bathroom medicine cabinet if you tend to take hot showers. Instead, I recommend keeping your fish oil in a cool, dark location, like the refrigerator.
Supplements—and dosages—you can trust
It’s often difficult to know whether those big bottles of fish oil you see in your local pharmacy or grocery store meet quality standards—especially when it comes to important processes like purification, distillation, and testing. So you have to choose only supplements from sources you know and trust.
If not, you may find you’re taking supplements that are useless or even harmful. And that warning also applies to researchers who don’t know the sources of the fish oil they use in their studies.
For these reasons, I took it upon myself to do the research and source high-quality ingredients and manufacturers, so you don’t have to do the legwork.
For more details on supplements, I encourage you to take a look at my website, www.DrMicozzi.com. (Just type the keyword,“fish oil,” into the search bar.)
All in all, one result from the faulty JAMA Cardiology study is clear. We need to be taking greater quantities of omega-3 fish oils (4 to 5 grams per day for most people) for optimal results.
These amounts are higher than what we’d been led to believe are “adequate” dosages—and higher than what I’ve previously recommended. But the new meta-analysis drove home the point that doses that are too low don’t work.
Why take the chance, especially if you don’t get enough fish in your diet? So please, always check the label of your fish oil supplement to ensure you’re taking the correct daily doses of EPA and DHA.
1“Associations of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Use With Cardiovascular Disease Risks.” JAMA Cardiol. 2018;3(3):225-234.
3“Use of supplemental long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk for cardiac death: An updated meta-analysis and review of research gaps.” J Clin Lipidol. 2017 Sep – Oct;11(5):1152-1160.e2.