Yesterday, a patient I’m seeing for atrial fibrillation told me that he was taking fish oil supplements that his eye doctor had recommended and sold to him for dry eyes. This patient reads my blog and knows that I strongly recommend not taking fish oil supplements (unless your triglycerides are >500). At the time I told him I didn’t know the literature on fish oil and dry eyes but that I was skeptical of any proven benefit.
It turns out that in April of this year an NIH-sponsored study concluded that Omega-3s from fish oil supplements are no better than placebo for dry eye.
The NIH story on this study notes that
Despite insufficient evidence establishing the effectiveness of omega-3s, clinicians and their patients have been inclined to try the supplements for a variety of conditions with inflammatory components, including dry eye. “This well-controlled investigation conducted by the independently-led Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) Research Group shows that omega-3 supplements are no better than placebo for typical patients who suffer from dry eye.”
I suspect that one by one the various alleged benefits of fish oil supplements will be proven to be nonexistent. I’m not sure the general public will stop buying snake or fish oil then but I feel like one by one I’m getting my patients off them. Doing my part to save the ocean bottom-feeders.
N.B. I’m writing this while flying to Miami to begin the great Galapagos adventure and the Voyage of the Samba.