More than a decade ago I wrote The OmegaRx Zone. I subtitled that book “The Miracle of High-Dose Fish Oil”. A recent article in the New York Times entitled “Fish oil claims not supported by the research” comes to the opposite conclusion(1). Obviously, one of us is right, and the other is wrong.
Omega-3 fatty acids only have therapeutic potential when used at therapeutic doses. This is no different from any prescription drug. If you use placebo doses of either, you get placebo effects. However, omega-3 fatty acids are far more complex than any drug because they work at several different levels from acting as molecular building blocks to powerful hormones that control inflammation to altering the expression of inflammatory genes.
Every leading academic researcher in cardiovascular disease knows that heart disease is an inflammatory disease. But what part of inflammation actually causes heart disease? This is a more complex question since there are two distinct phases of inflammation. The first is the initiation of inflammation. The second is the resolution of inflammation. They are both active processes and operate independently. If they are mismatched, the result is continuing low-level chronic inflammation below the perception of pain. I term this mismatch of the two distinct phases of inflammation as cellular inflammation. It is cellular inflammation that actually causes the build-up of atherosclerotic lesions and their rupture that leads to the mortality from heart disease.