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Back To Vidyya FDA Says Science For Omega-3 Health Claim 'Suggestive, Not Conclusive'

Despite Recommendation From American Heart Association

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced only a qualified health claim is permitted for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and heart disease. The FDA considers the following claim appropriately qualified:

"The scientific evidence about whether omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is suggestive, but not conclusive. Studies in the general population have looked at diets containing fish and it is not known whether diets or omega-3 fatty acids in fish may have a possible effect on a reduced risk of CHD. It is not known what effect omega-3 fatty acids may or may not have on risk of CHD in the general population."

The FDA decision is contrary to the recommendation from the American Heart Association's (AHA) revised Dietary Guidelines released in October, which states: "Because of the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids on risk of coronary artery disease, ... the current intake, which is generally low, should be increased ... At least 2 servings of fish per week are recommended to confer cardioprotective effects."

According to William Connor, MD, professor of endocrinology, diabetes and clinical nutrition at Oregon Health Sciences University and a leading researcher in omega-3 PUFA in human health:

"The FDA is ignoring thousands of experiments showing positive health benefits from omega-3 PUFA from fish and fish oil. This is indeed surprising and flies in the face of scientific evidence. Many international scientific bodies and our own American Heart Association have endorsed the heart-health benefits of fish and fish oil consumption. It is an enormous disservice to the millions of Americans who could benefit from a recommendation on the positive health benefits of fish and fish oil."

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are essential fatty acids found primarily in fatty fish. Scientific evidence suggests that omega-3 PUFA are beneficial to heart health by lowering triglyceride levels, reducing the occurrence of sudden death, decreasing risk of arrhythmia and reducing blood-clotting tendency.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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