Eating fish is often recommended by doctors and other
healthcare practitioners as a healthy addition to the diet.
Proponents of eating fish say that it reduces morbidity
and mortality. Is this true? What does the evidence say?
Greenland Study Finds Benefits in
Consumption of Fish
Interest was piqued in omega-3 fatty acids, fish, and fish
oil as a result of an epidemiological study of the Greenland
Inuit (“Eskimos”) in the 1980’s. The study revealed that
members of this population, compared to their western
European counterparts, experienced low incidences of:
· Heart issues
· Autoimmune diseases like:
1) Type 1 diabetes,
3) Multiple sclerosis
Additionally, the native population in Greenland exhibited
lower rates of heart disease like atherosclerosis. Subsequent
observational studies attributed the better health
of the Greenland Inuit to their high intake of omega
3 fatty acids which can modulate inflammatory pathways,
thereby reducing chronic inflammatory diseases.
The omega 3 fatty acids in the Inuit diet came primarily
from marine mammals like seals, along with some fish and
After this connection was made between omega 3 fatty
acids, inflammation modulation, and disease reduction, researchers
began exploring omega-3 fatty acid supplementation
in earnest: more than 4,500 studies were published
in about a 25 year period. Practitioners and consumers
started using more and more nutritional supplements containing
fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids, while researchers
delved into whether or not using fish oil supplements and/
or eating high amounts of fish were beneficial.