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Health claims on fish oil labels persist despite limited data


Sep 15, 2023

Many fish oil supplement labels are making unproven health claims, and studies suggest that these products contain varying amounts of EPA and DHA. A recent survey found that over 74% of the 2,800 supplements analyzed had at least one health claim on their labels, including those reviewed by the FDA. The authors of the study suggest that additional regulation may be needed to prevent consumer misinformation. Surprisingly, despite evidence from randomized trials showing no cardiovascular benefits, 20% of adults over 60 years old take fish oil supplements for heart health. Dr. Joanna Asadourian, one of the authors of the study, expressed that she was not surprised to see such a high rate of health claims for fish oil supplements, but was surprised by the wide range of claims made. Researchers found that there was significant variation in the dosage of EPA and DHA in these supplements, and concluded that tighter regulations on labeling may be necessary to ensure safety and efficacy. There is a need to accurately describe the current state of the science on fish oil and its health benefits. However, experts caution that the enthusiasm for these supplements surpasses the evidence from rigorous clinical trials. It is important for doctors to emphasize that dietary supplements do not replace a heart-healthy diet and may not be helpful for those who already eat well. It is recommended that patients look for seals of approval from reputable organizations when choosing supplements, as these ensure purity, content consistency, and accurate dosage. Ultimately, consumer education is necessary to ensure informed decision-making about these products.

By Editor

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