Most Fish Oil Supplement Labels Make Health Benefit Claims

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Additionally, wide variability seen across supplements for total daily dose

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The majority of fish oil supplement labels make health claims and vary significantly in the recommended daily dosage, according to a study published online Aug. 23 in JAMA Cardiology.

Joanna N. Assadourian, from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues evaluated health claims made on the labels of fish oil supplements in the United States and examined doses of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in commonly available formulations. The analysis included 2,819 unique fish oil supplements in the National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Label Database.

The researchers found that nearly three-quarters of products (73.9 percent) made at least one health claim, yet fewer than one in five of these products (19.2 percent) used a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved qualified health claim. The remaining 80.8 percent made only structure/function claims (e.g., “promotes heart health”), with cardiovascular health claims being the most common (62.0 percent). Among the 16 leading brands/manufacturers (255 fish oil supplements), there was substantial variability in the daily dose of EPA (median, 340 mg/day), DHA (median, 270 mg/day), and total EPA+DHA (median, 600 mg/day). Fewer than one in 10 of the supplements (9.4 percent) contained a daily dose of ≥2 g EPA+DHA.

“Increasing regulation of dietary supplement labeling may be needed to prevent consumer misinformation,” conclude the authors.

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