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GOED: Consumers not likely to lose faith in omega-3 supplements

GOED: Consumers not likely to lose faith in omega-3 supplements

Experts say that the findings of a recent analysis of studies on omega-3s and heart health are not strong enough to sway consumers away from the supplements.

The recent Archives of Internal Medicine analysis questioning the efficacy of omega-3 supplements for heart health has met with criticism not only from the supplement industry but from fellow researchers. In an accompanying editorial in the same journal, Harvard nutritionists Frank Hu and JoAnn Manson point out that among the 14 studies included “most were very small, short-term studies.” The researchers also question the wisdom of leaving out the famous and positive GISSI and JELIS trials because they lacked placebo. The trials “have made important contributions to the totality of the evidence and should not be simply ignored,” they write.

Harry Rice, PhD, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED), agrees that “the inclusion criteria for this study was not appropriate,” and stresses that the “totality of the evidence” shows that omega 3s—either in fish or pills—promote cardiovascular health.

Rice says purveyors of omega-3 supplements were initially “very concerned” about the study. But those fears have not been realized.

“It hasn’t received the amount of attention we thought it would, and the attention it has received has been to discount it,” Rice says. “It is going to take a lot for consumers to lose their faith in omega-3s.”

Read a Q&A with the fish oil study's co-author

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