Do fish oil supplements really help with heart health?

The many jars and boxes of fish oil supplements on the shelves of Israeli pharmacies and health food stores show how popular they are, although they are not cheap.

People have been convinced that these supplements can do just that Prevent heart disease and other ailments—but a new study conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas confirms that such benefits have not been proven and that there is a wide variety of different fish oil supplements sold around the world.

One in five american adults over the age of 60 frequently takes fish oil supplements for heart health despite multiple randomized clinical trials showing no data on the cardiovascular benefit of supplemental doses. Consumers’ perceptions of health benefits may be influenced by data on dietary supplement labels, researchers write.

Suspicious results

The results of this study indicate that the majority of fish oil supplement labels make health claimsusually in the form of structural/functional claims implying a health benefit across a variety of organ systems although there is no empirical data showing efficacy, writes Internal Medicine Assistant Professor Hans.

Anne Marie Navarre and her team. “There is significant heterogeneity in the daily dose of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DPA) in available dietary supplements, leading to potential variability in safety and efficacy between dietary supplements.”

Vitamins and health supplements. (credit: pixels)

Dosage discrepancies

They published their findings in the journal Gamma for heart disease Under “Health claims and dosages of fish oil supplements in the United States”.

Dietary supplements contain doses of EPA and DHA in commonly available formulations. The survey identified 255 fish oil supplements from 16 leading brands/manufacturers.. Among these factors, a large variance was found in the daily dose of EPA and DHA. The team wrote that the total daily dose of EPA plus DHA was significantly variable between dietary supplements.

In this cross-sectional study of L Fish oil supplements, 73.9% made at least one health claim, usually related to heart health, followed by brain and joint health, and the health claim language required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was not used frequently. The panel concluded that additional regulation of claims made for fish oil supplements is needed.

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