SEP 03, 2019 8:30 AM PDT

Somethings Fishy With Omega 3 Claims

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

Each month nearly 20 million Americans turn to fish oil for heart disease prevention. Though it may sound healthy, this trend is troubling in the face of zero reliable evidence of their effectiveness.

Many people are entirely unaware of fish oil’s failure to provide any significant clinical benefits. This is because the myth of their usefulness is so widespread that people everywhere have come to believe it. The belief comes after decades of claims about the cardiovascular benefits these products provide.

Ideas about Omega-3’s are so widespread that many doctors who suggested their use to patients wrongly believed they are FDA approved over-the-counter products. When surveyed, 30% of pharmacists and 22% of physicians stated these products and prescription products were similar in contact and strength. This is simply not the case.

On July 9, 2019, a summary of the evidence concerning fish oils was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Just one of 24 supplements that were examined, omega-3 products were considered “low certainty “concerning their claims of protecting cardiovascular health. 

Part of the problem is labeling, which often suggests products provide some cardiovascular benefits. The supplements are not intended to treat any condition like heart attack or heart disease. Also, they are not reviewed by the FDA in ways similar to prescription drugs. This is because, as dietary supplements, they fall into a different FDA classification then prescription drugs.

Not only are these products unlikely to benefit cardiovascular health, researchers had additional concerns about these products. Some findings include variable content and unregulated purity, significant levels of saturated fat, and even rancid oil in the capsules tested.

This evidence provides more proof that even the most widely accepted claims need to have supporting evidence behind them. Without such evidence, they deserve to be regularly scrutinized by the medical community and the people it serves until reliable studies are conducted. 

The video above, from MDedge, highlights earlier findings that indicated that these products had no benefit for atrial fibrillation patients. Though evidence had just emergered that these products were not useful for patients with AFib, the past American Heart Association president still reccomemeded them for use. 

 

Sources: National Institutes of HealthAnnals of Internal MedicineMDedge

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
OCT 03, 2019
Cardiology
OCT 03, 2019
What is Polycythemia Vera?
Polycythemia Vera (PV) is a slow-growing cancer of the blood. The cancer is characterized by an overproduction of blood cells within the bone marrow. Too m...
OCT 24, 2019
Cardiology
OCT 24, 2019
Protein Build-Up Places Heart at Risk
Amyloidosis is a disease caused by protein buildup in the body. These abnormal proteins, called amyloids, are produced in the bone marrow. Multiple types o...
NOV 01, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 01, 2019
Meal Timing May Have a Profound Influence on Your Workout
A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, sought to examine the relationship between meal timing, fat storage, and in...
FEB 05, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 05, 2020
Protein-Rich Foods May Damage Heart Health
High-protein diets are becoming more and more popular as a method to both increase muscle mass and lose weight. Now however, new research is showing that e...
FEB 21, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 21, 2020
Longer Sitting Times Linked to Developing Heart Disease
Longer sitting times has been associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease among overweight and obese women following menopause. For the study...
MAR 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 20, 2020
WHO Says Ibuprofen May Still Work Against COVID-19
Since the announcement of a French Health Minister in recent days linking usage of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) w...
Loading Comments...