Now that it's being sold as a "drug," ordinary fish oil is finally getting the extraordinary recognition it deserves from the mainstream.

One new study finds that fish oil can save tens of thousands of lives if it's simply given routinely to heart patients. And that means hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of lives have been lost thanks to decades of mainstream ignorance.

British researchers reviewed data on nearly 7,000 patients with chronic heart failure who had been assigned to either 1 gram of fish oil per day or a placebo. The researchers found that after two years, there were nearly 10 percent fewer deaths among those who had been taking the real thing.

In fact, they estimate that for every 500,000 heart failure patients given fish oil, 10,000 lives would be saved.

With 5 million heart failure patients in the United States, that translates into 100,000 patients spared an early death, or roughly the entire population of Green Bay, Wisconsin--including its football team.

The researchers also found that those given fish oil had fewer hospital admissions, according to the review published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine.

The fish oil used in this study was actually the prescription "drug" Omacor--but if you've been watching TV, you probably know it better as Lovaza thanks to the endless commercials now running on its behalf.

The marketing campaign calls it the "only FDA-approved medicine made from omega-3 fish oil that's proven to reduce very high triglycerides," as if it's somehow different from other fish oils.

It's not.

All that statement really means is that GlaxoSmithKline has pockets deep enough to send Lovaza through the new drug approval process. That allows the company to sell it as a drug, at high drug prices.

It also allows prescription-loving doctors to offer fish oil without having to use the "n" word ("natural") or the "s" word (supplement), because--after all--now, it's a drug.

But if you get your fish oil from a high-quality--and lower-priced--supplement, you're enjoying those same terrific benefits… even if the company that makes it can't use the same specific FDA-approved claim on the package.

Another new study shows why fish oil works so well when it comes to heart protection and diabetes prevention--and it's what many have suspected all along: the natural anti- inflammatory properties of these essential fatty acids.

In a study on mice, researchers watched as the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil were able to latch onto macrophages, or the white blood cells that trigger inflammation, and basically switch them off.

The researchers say that means fish oil can prevent or help lessen the damage caused by diabetes, heart disease, obesity and even cancer--and all it takes is a simple, natural supplement.

Oops--there are those "s" and "n" words again.