The Economist ran an article in the December 11, 2010 edition entitled “Wonder Drug” regarding aspirin. The article noted that aspirin has benefits as a blood-thinning drug, and is prescribed in doses of around 50 mg to reduce deaths from stroke and heart attack. The results of a new study indicated that aspirin also reduced the risk of death by cancer by over 20%. However, there was a long latency period before the risk reduction took effect, varying from 5 to 15 years. Higher doses did not confer additional benefit. There was a small risk of ulcers and dangerous stomach bleeding. The therapy was very cost-effective, with a 100 day supply sometimes costing less than a dollar.
Omega-3 supplements are also supposed to have a blood-thinning effect, as well as many other therapeutic benefits, particularly relieving depression. Flax seed supplementation is relatively inexpensive too, but fish oil supplements can be expensive. I prefer Omega-3 supplements since they are essential nutrients and have few side effects. However, aspirin therapy is very cost-effective, and would certainly have to be considered as a less-expensive alternative to Omega-3 supplements, although the increased risk of side-effects also has to be taken into account.
I was interested to note the fact that the study carried on for a long enough period to show benefits even after a long latency period. This latency effect may also apply to some of the benefits of Omega-3 supplementation. However, in my experience, the lowering of triglyceride values was noticeable after just several months of taking supplements.