Fish Oil – Bad or Good?

Precision Nutrition » Fish oil and omega-3s fats: How to be safer with your supplements..

I will admit, I’ve been on the fence, but the above linked article unpacks things nicely, and has the added benefit of explaining, very succinctly, how the media distorts the importance of controversial studies without bothering to vet the science that lies behind them.

fish oilJournalists used to understand the phrase “consider the source.” They don’t so much anymore. The study that’s caused all the hubbub that’s led talking heads all over North America to basically tell people to toss their fish oil capsules was published in The Journal of Lipids. Here’s what Precision Nutrition had to say about this esteemed publication:

For you science nerds out there, the impact factor of this journal — if you can believe it — is zero. (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, impact factors indicate how important a journal is to the scientific community).

For the sake of comparison, blogs have a scientific impact factor of zero. So does my daughter’s coloring book. The highly respected New England Journal of Medicine, on the other hand, has an impact factor of around 35.

This is something to keep in mind next time you’re doing research. The scientific credibility of a journal, determined by members of the scientific community, matters.

PN is even harsher with the author of the study:

In investigating the author, I learned that, years ago, he made unsubstantiated claims about his academic credentials. There were serious legal ramifications. Fines were paid. Reputations ruined.
Not good.

This is basic background research that any journalist should do prior to running with a story, but they never do it. Why? Because then they’d have fewer sensational and controversial “science” and “medicine” stories to put into their leads on the nightly news and 24-hour cable news shows. They might actually have to report on *gasp* the news.

If you’re concerned about whether or not you should be taking fish oil supplements, read the linked article from Precision Nutrition (there’s even am embedded link to an audio version of the article if you’d rather just listen). Personally, I think it’s a must.

One Response to “Fish Oil – Bad or Good?

  • Bryon Mauss
    6 years ago

    You made a number of nice points there. I did a search on the matter and found the majority of people will have the same opinion with your blog.

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