Health Claims of Fish Oil Supplements Often Vague, Lack Concrete Data: JAMA

19 Sept 2023 • A recent cross-sectional study conducted from February to June 2022 analyzed data from labels of 2,819 fish oil and omega-3 fatty acid supplements available in the US market. The study revealed that a significant proportion of these supplements (73.9%) made health claims on their labels, with the majority (80.8%) relying on structure/function claims, such as "promotes heart health."

Shockingly, only a small fraction (19.2%) of these claims were backed by FDA-approved qualified health claims, highlighting a disconnect between marketing assertions and scientific evidence. The most common health claims were related to cardiovascular health, even though multiple randomized clinical trials had previously shown no cardiovascular benefits at supplement-level doses. Furthermore, the study identified considerable variability in the daily doses of essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), across different brands and manufacturers.

Only 9.4% of the evaluated supplements contained the recommended daily dose of 2 grams or more of EPA+DHA. This study underscores the need for increased regulation in dietary supplement labeling to combat potential misinformation and ensure patient safety and informed choices among individuals, particularly older adults, who frequently turn to fish oil supplements for heart health.

Source: MD | Read full story

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