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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 25 2006

Uncle Sam – Definitely Not a Pisces

By Mark Sisson

Something I read in the New York Times the other day got me steamed faster than fresh spinach. Apparently, fish oil prescriptions are not only standard practice in Europe – they’re handed out like candy corn on Halloween – but heart patients who don’t get a prescription can actually sue for malpractice.

Pure fish oil is so clearly supported by the international body of science that European doctors who don’t prescribe the stuff to anyone worried about their cardiovascular health are considered grossly incompetent.

Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies support fish oil for great health. Some of the healthiest peoples in the world – from Japan to the Mediterranean – rely heavily on fish fats for great health. Fish oil = better body is not some radical new idea, but try telling that to the American health business. Er…health establishment.

Now, this doesn’t really surprise me; after all, the safest, longest-lasting, most effective, non-drug form of birth control favored in Europe and tested safe for decades is also basically nonexistent here in the Fabulous 50. America may have the best life-saving surgery techniques in the world, but when it comes to basic illness recovery or health maintenance, one would think fish oil must be some risky, mind-altering substance right up there with caffeine and alcohol. The difference being those are both substances prescribed by doctors.

I’m not asking a lot of our federal government. I know they have lobbyists to cuddle. But would it kill anyone over at the FDA or the N.E. Journal of Medicineyness to admit that fish oil has excellent therapeutic properties for people in general and heart patients in particular, and – gasp – recommend prescribing the stuff? They accept the data. Why not recommend?

Here’s the part of the article that really burned my mocha:

“For example, on Solvay Pharmaceutical’s Web site for Omacor (a Euro fish oil supplement), the first question a user sees is ‘Are you a U.S. citizen?’

If the answer is yes, the user is sent to a page where heart attacks are not mentioned.”

I’m so thrilled with our government for censoring accurate scientific information about cardiovascular health on a European company’s website so we citizens can remain both ignorant and unhealthy. Fish fat in its pure form is vital to cardiovascular health, brain health, and the strengthening of the linings of cells. Considering the damage that free radicals and inflammation whack cells with every day, and the difficulty in getting low-mercury fish filets at the local market, wouldn’t recommending and even prescribing fish oil be a prudent thing for the medical “establishment” to do?

Thanks to Elisabeth Rosenthal at the Gray Lady (the Times) for this piece. To the rest of you, get thee to a fish oil supplement, stat!

Click here for my favorite one.

[tags] Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Omacor, fish oil, omega-3, Europe, New England Journal of Medicine, FDA, NEJM, supplements, New York Times [/tags]

TAGS:  Hype, omega 3s

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9 thoughts on “Uncle Sam – Definitely Not a Pisces”

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  1. ” … the safest, longest-lasting, most effective, non-drug form of birth control favored in Europe and tested safe for decades is also basically nonexistent here in the Fabulous 50.”

    Dear Mark,
    I live in Europe – and am dying to know what this mysterious form of birth control is? Condoms? diaphragm? Temperature-measuring-method?


    1. I think he was referring to the paragard IUD. It’s hard to get in the US (if you don’t have children) unless you go to Planned Parenthood which sucks because isn’t getting cheap birth control really the whole reason a young female has heath insurence?

  2. I’m with Pia — what form of birth control are you referring to?
    And on the same topic, I just read somewhere that birth control can increase your insulin resistance. Mark, do you know of any scientific evidence to support this claim?


  3. Ah, birth control is just something I’m not going to go natural on. In New Zealand we have just had jadelle (arm implant) approved for national funding. The country sold out the entire purchased supply in three weeks, and the powers that be expected it to last a year. I’ve got one. I love it. I don’t think copper IUD’s are funded here either but hey, I think I’m going to stick with the hormones, and having it in my arm!

  4. This does not surprise me. I just finished watching the Dr. Burzynski film and was appalled as to what the FDA, pharmaceutical industry, etc. are all about. It’s incredibly sad to say the least.

  5. How appalling! Such blatant disregard for good scientific research makes very little sense. That, coupled with the fact that an aging American population is going to put a huge financial burden on the rest of us.

    Preventative measures must be taken- fish oil and some form of exercise would be a great start.

  6. But those lobbyists get grumpy if you cuddle anyone else, don’t you know. Just another reason I trust the medical establishment in this country less and less. I knew fish oil is beneficial, and do take it myself, but didn’t realize that it is regularly prescribed in Europe nor that doctors who fail to prescribe it for cardiovascular patients are considered incompetent. Very interesting stuff.