Omega-3 Supplements Questioned in Australian Study

APRIL 2015:

Excerpt from GOED Statement Prepared 15 April 2015-
A study questioning the benefit of omega-3 supplements has been receiving some press over the last two days in Australia. The articles report on a new study published in Heart, Lung and Circulation, which was initiated by the National Heart Foundation of Australia as part of a review of its dietary guidelines.

The research study is actually supportive of the benefits of omega-3s, stating that higher fish intake was associated with lower incidence of heart failure, sudden cardiac death, stroke and myocardial infarction. The main issue is the researchers did not find a similar benefit for omega-3 supplementation:

“In relation to omega-3 LCPUFA supplementation, neither a beneficial nor adverse effect was demonstrated in primary or secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, although the evidence continues to be positive for the role of omega-3 LCPUFA in the treatment of hypertriglyceridaemia and a modest benefit in heart failure.”

An important question the study did not address is, “What are the heart health benefits of fish oil?”
Here is a more complete answer to that question written by Adam Ismail, Executive Director, GOED:

The EPA and DHA omega-3s found in fish oils are just like any other nutrient—they are important for your whole body and are a basic part of human nutrition and a building block for every cell membrane in our body. Experts believe, based on numerous gold-standard research studies, that omega-3s EPA and DHA are good for heart health.

Cardiovascular disease is caused by many factors, including genetics, level of exercise and diet quality. A single factor, like consumption of omega-3s, is not going to completely prevent cardiovascular issues or death. However, taking omega-3s may reduce overall risk. Every meta-analytical review published in the last 10 years that considered the whole body of human clinical evidence for cardiac or coronary death consistently finds a significant benefit to omega-3 consumption.

There are many factors that contribute to heart health, and getting enough omega-3s is one of those factors. The evidence consistently shows that EPA and DHA omega-3s reduce risk of cardiac death, help maintain healthy blood pressure, and keep triglycerides in check.

Unfortunately, most of us do not eat enough of the right kinds of fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel and sardines, to get recommended amounts of omega-3s. Eating enough omega-3-rich fish and/or taking supplements are healthy habits everyone should follow. A healthier diet also means a healthier heart.

For a more in-depth response to this study, or for a list of studies on omega-3 supplementation and Coronary Death Risk Reduction, please contact techsupport@researchnutrition.com.au, or visit www.omega-research.com