Fishy research into fish oils

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Fish oil tablets
Fish oil is an important nutritional supplement when carefully selected

Nutritionist and researcher, Rachel Arthur says that fish oils may be more use in treating mental health current individual clinical research trials suggest, especially if you do your homework.

In a recent piece, published on her web-site, she queries the findings of many literature reviews, including the highly regarded 2012Cochrane review into the use of fish oils in bipolar disorder, that inevitably find the use of fish oil is ineffective. The Cochrane Review based their negative conclusion on the results of one study (Frangou et al 2006), while more than 23 others failed to meet their inclusion criteria (Montgomery & Richardson 2008). She writes that the more correct conclusion is that “based on this terrible mish-mosh of evidence, no firm conclusions can be reached”.

One of the biggest problems in fish oil research is the use of different doses, different ratios of the key ingredients (EPA and DHA) and different administration forms. The big take home message should actually be: Fish oils ain’t fish oils!

Check out some of the better written and more insightful reviews – especially this one by Sublette (2011) which found that in  successful treatment of depression fish oil supplements must have >60% EPA compared with DHA and read her theories on this.

So according to Rachel we need to get reading and get clearer about which specific omega 3 fatty acid or blend (and in what ratios) works for which mental health problem – it’s definitely not a case of one-size-fits-all – do your homework and pick your products well and most importantly let’s not throw the fish out with all that fishy research!

Read the full article on Rachel’s web-site

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