Fish Oil Supplements and the Vegan Diet

Today's big health news headline is "Study:  Fish oil doesn't help prevent heart attacks" (Associated Press, May 8, 2013).  Understandably, the reaction of many readers (as reflected in the article comments section) was one of frustration and even anger at what was perceived as a misleading headline.  As some of the readers so accurately pointed out, many (most?) people only read the headline and don't bother to read the content.

If one bothered to read the entire article, one would learn that what the study actually concluded was that fish oil supplements yielded no additional benefits to individuals who were already at a very high risk for heart disease and who were already being aggressively treated for their very high risk factors associated with heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and obesity.

Study after study has found that vegans who follow a healthy, whole food plant-based diet are generally at the very lowest risk for heart disease.  Vegans, who do not consume or use any animal products, do not eat any fish nor take any fish oil supplements.   Their wholly plant-based diet translates into exemplary blood pressure readings and low cholesterol levels.

Additionally, many vegans are exceedingly well informed about nutrition and, although some may overindulge in vegan processed foods, sugar and oils, it appears that the majority go to great lengths to prepare and eat only healthy and wholesome meals to ensure that they are getting all of the necessary macro and micro nutrients.

The healthy, balanced whole-food vegan diet does not appear to be lacking in the important omega-3 fatty acids.  Most vegans and vegetarians understand the importance of the omega-6/omega-3 ratio and are familiar with plant-based omega-3 sources.   If you are considering adopting or are already on a plant-based diet and have not yet done your homework on the subject of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a good place to start is Healthy Fats for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets - How to Get the Right Balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 in Your Diet.
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