Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Does fish oil come from snakes?

Snake oil is a term born from peddlers who announced amazing cures from stuff that didn't work. In a society where the FDA will only approve a drug that can prove, with double blind studies, that it works and doesn't harm  one would think that our days of snake oil salesman would be over.

However, the FDA does not regulate 'natural' ingredients. Herbs and fruits are not under the same scrutiny that pharmaceuticals are. Hence the rise of the neutraceutical generation. Gogi juice, noni juice, xango juice, vitamins, and minerals sold as cures and 'prevention to cures' for anything from cancer to diabetes. New antioxidant indexes have arose.

Fish oil is among these nutritional supplements that have been advocated as a beneficial part of a regular diet. Regular doses of fish oil are good for dry eye. Unlike other neutraceuticals, fish oil is the subject of numerous studies to quantify the benefits of fish oil. One such study suggested that fish oil was as effective as doxycyline for pre and post-op Lasik.

When deciding to add a supplement to your diet take into account the snake oil effect. Be wary of anecdotal evidence. Though testimonials may be true they also may not. It is difficult to measure cause and effect on one person or a small group of people. For a cool graphic outlining popular nutritional supplements and the amount of evidence available to support its claims.

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