Monday, April 03, 2006

Fish oils and statins April 2006

FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter April 2006

There is something fishy about statins !

Ok now that I have your attention let’s talk about the study that was reported in the Arch of Intern Med/Vol165 April 11, 2005. The study was entitled “Effect of Different Antilipidemic Agents and Diets on Mortality”. This was a met analysis literature review of some 97 studies covering 137,140 individuals looking at mortality (not cholesterol numbers!) from certain interventions. Mortality was from all reasons cardiovascular and non cardiovascular.

The study looked at statins (35 trials), fibrates(ie Gemfibrozil) (17 trials), resins (ie QUESTRAN ) (8 trials),niacin (2 trials), n-3 fatty acids (ie fish oil)(14 trials), and dietary (17 trials).

Without getting mired down into the statistical minuscia that goes on with this type of study the authors conclusion:

STATINS ARE THE BEST….oh yea n-3 fatty acids did OK too.

So lets look at the results

Mortality rate for Statins was .87 (1.0 would be with no intervention). Another way of saying this would be there was a 13% reduction in mortality rate from all causes .

Mortality rate for N-3 fatty acids was .77. Or a 23% reduction in mortality rate.

It seems to me that the conclusion should have been n-3 fatty acids did the best at reducing mortality with Statins coming in ….third. That’s right resins had a .84 rate and they weren’t even mentioned in the conclusion.

The others results were 1.00 for fibrates, .96 niacin, and .97 for dietary.

When they considered deaths from only cardiovascular reasons, fatty acids still were the best at .68, Statins were .78, and resins were .70.

An interesting thing happened looking at non cardiovascular deaths, fibrates actually increased it! 1.13 (a 13% increase). They concluded that this needed more study.

What is the bottom line…..TAKE your fish oils.


Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith