Flawed Study, Bad Science, Outrageous Conclusion
September 22, 2010
You may have seen a story in the news claiming a study found that consuming more omega-3 fats doesn’t help heart patients. How did the researchers come to this conclusion? They fed their human guinea pigs margarine -- otherwise known as the extremely heart unhealthy form of fat called trans fat.
Essentially, the researchers gave heart attack survivors margarine enhanced with omega-3s. Unsurprisingly, it did little to offset the heart-damaging hydrogenated oil already present in the margarine.
There were additional problems with the study as well. According to the Alliance for Natural Health:
“Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic said it may have been a matter of too little, too late — the dose was so tiny and the patients were enrolled many years after their initial heart attack — on average four years.”
In a separate study, researchers have identified the molecular mechanism that makes omega-3 fats effective in reducing chronic inflammation and insulin resistance.
The scientists identified a key receptor on macrophages found in obese body fat. Omega-3 fats activate this macrophage receptor, resulting in anti-inflammatory effects and improved insulin sensitivity.
“Macrophages are specialized white blood cells that engulf and digest cellular debris and pathogens. Part of this immune system response involves the macrophages secreting cytokines and other proteins that cause inflammation ... Obese fat tissue contains lots of these macrophages producing lots of cytokines. The result can be chronic inflammation and rising insulin resistance.”