Fish Oils A Natural Alternative To COX-2 Drugs

Ed. Note: The following is a press release from Ascenta Health Ltd.

January 2005 - The multi-billion dollar pain medication industry took another huge hit this week when a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association linked the drug Celebrex to an increased risk of a fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular event. This news closely mirrors the recent recall by Merck & Co of its blockbuster pain medication Vioxx which was pulled from the shelves in over 80 countries due to studies linking it to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.

Both Celebrex and Vioxx belong to the same class of pain medication referred to as COX-2 inhibitors. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, acute adult pain and menstrual pain were regularly treated
using these popular anti-inflammatory drugs.

The news regarding Vioxx's safety immediately questioned the safety of other drugs belonging to the same class of pain medication and now the Celebrex study confirms this suspicion.

Based on the evidence reported in a long term cancer trial, the use of Celebrex resulted in a 2.5 fold increased risk of suffering from a major fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular event. Pfizer, however, has yet to recall its popular drug citing that this evidence is conflicting with that of other studies sponsored by the company.

Nevertheless, patients on both Vioxx and Celebrex were immediately urged to speak with their doctors about alternative treatments. With the recent news about Vioxx and Celebrex, many people are asking the question, "What safe, long term alternatives exist for those suffering from chronic pain and inflammation?" If you've had a serving of fresh fish today, you've already found the answer.

The excitement over fish, more specifically fish oils, is shared by both the medical community as well as the millions of sufferers of degenerative diseases. Most degenerative diseases, including arthritis, are characterized by an over-active inflammatory process in the body. While physical traumas, genetics and toxins are also causes of excessive inflammation, the primary culprit is poor nutrition. For this reason we turn our attention to fish oils.

Fish oils contain high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids play a number of critical roles in the body. One such role is the production of a class of hormone-like chemicals called eicosonoids.
While the overall function of eicosonoids is diverse, one major effect is the suppression of inflammation in the body. We know that inflammation is necessary to the healing process but we also know that excessive or chronic
inflammation can lead to disease. The body's inability to control inflammation may be due partly to a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3s is reduced by the excessive
consumption of another type of dietary fat known as omega-6.

Major sources of omega-6s are vegetable oils, animal fats such as beef and chicken, as well as most nuts and seeds. While some omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for proper health, they actually promote inflammation and
disease when consumed in excessive amounts. "Because the average person consumes far too much omega-6 and too little omega-3, the inflammatory pathway in the body shifts towards excessive inflammation and disease" said naturopath Dr. Paul McKern. To bring that pathway back into balance requires a reduction in omega-6 consumption (common cooking oils and animal fats) and an increase in omega-3 consumption (fish, fish oils). The benefits of omega-3 fish oils in the treatment arthritis are widely supported by thousands of medical studies published in some of the most prestigious medical journals around the world.

Researchers at Harvard University analyzed 10 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies and concluded that fish oil supplementation resulted in a highly significant decrease in the number of tender joints and a significant shortening in the duration of morning stiffness among rheumatoid arthritis patients.(1)

"Most people don't realize how much diet influences the risk of disease" said Marc St-Onge, President of Ascenta Health Ltd., a leading producer of omega-3 fish oils branded as NutraSea. "Purified fish oils as a dietary
supplement presents sufferers of arthritic pain with a medically proven alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. An added benefit is of course the lack of side effects", added Mr. St-Onge. Over 40 years of medical research on omega-3 fatty acids is supporting its use in a variety of diseases. Most importantly, omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of a balanced diet and a balanced diet is a person's best bet for a long and healthy life.

If you suffer from pain and inflammation and are looking for a proven alternative treatment to Vioxx, Celebrex and other prescribed medications, with no side effects, talk to your family doctor about an omega-3 supplement enriched diet.

(1) Fortin, Paul R., et al. Validation of a meta-analysis: the effects
of fish oil in rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Clinical
Epidemiology, Vol. 48, 1995, pp. 1379-90

About Ascenta Health Ltd.

Ascenta Health Ltd. is an award winning manufacturer and distributor of high quality natural health products. Ascenta is an innovative company with a keen understanding of consumer health issues and the expertise to develop high quality, research-based, competitively priced solutions. The company is headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada and has international distribution. Ascenta Health's products can be found at health food stores and pharmacies in North America.