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Is Spending $1.2 Billion Per Year on Supplements Really Beneficial for Americans?

The “accrual of high-level evidence” indicates “that the supplements lack efficacy across a range of health outcomes for which their use is advocated.”

Is fish oil supplements the new snake oil of the health world? Photo Credit: Google Images

Is fish oil supplements the new snake oil of the health world?
Photo Credit: Google Images

That pronouncement, a conclusion which comes post analysis of 24 studies based on clinical trials on a random basis and published on JAMA internal Medicine in 2014, is hardly a ringing endorsement.

But as Washington reports, we buy those supplements irrespective of anything, and lots of them too. This can be proved as the report states that roughly 1.2 billion dollars is spent each year by Americans on fish oil pills and associated products; one of the authors that JAMA research told Reuters in 2013 that around 10% of Americans have them.

They’re touted for the good fatty acids—omega-3s—they contain. But while they’re generally considered safe to take, it’s pretty unclear whether they’re beneficial for heart health.

Writing for the Post, Peter Whoriskey points out that even the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association cannot make up their minds.

The former endorses the supplements, then states “omega-3s in supplement form have not been shown to protect against heart disease” on its website; a scientific consultant with the NIH says the endorsement was supplied by a third-party contributor.

As for the AHA, it recommends people suffering from heart disease to consult their doctor relating supplements, but former AHA president tells Whoriskey “It would be a good time for that to be updated.”. As for those 24 studies, all but two showed no benefit. But Whorisky adds that it is possible that there is some experiments on heart disease patients just can’t pick up on it because heart medications cloud thigs.

A 5-year study of 26,000 people—who the New York Timesterms “more representative of the general population”—is due to be completed in 2016. (Another vitamin supplement could cause acne.)

 

About Enozia Vakil

Enozia Vakil is an online entrepreneur, writer, editor and an avid reader. She has been associated with some of the best names in both online and print media, and holds a degree in Alternative Medicine.