The dietary supplement industry has continued to discount the omega-3 meta-analysis, published online by the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this week. Adding to comments from the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association, the Salt Lake City, UT-based Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) issued its own take-aways.
“The totality of the publicly available scientific evidence demonstrates a cardiovascular benefit of EPA and DHA in healthy populations, as well as in the majority of populations with pre-existing cardiovascular ailments,” the group said. “The already long list of long-chain omega-3 recommendations from professional organizations and government bodies continues to grow because the science is so compelling.”
GOED pointed out that “the investigators included only placebo-controlled trials which eliminated some of the best studies, including DART, JELIS, and GISSI Prevenzione Trial, all three of which were strongly positive for cardiovascular endpoints.”
Though the meta-analysis researchers reviewed 14 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in their analyses, GOED asserted that “the study design was the reason many of the studies included in the present meta-analysis failed to demonstrate a benefit,” due to its small, short-term size, limited population characteristics, and dosage; it was “not designed to evaluate CVD end points, underpowered--not a failure to demonstrate an effect; rather a failure to detect an effect, subjects in more recent trials received better treatment with statins, antithrombotics and antihypertensive medications than those in earlier trials.”
And on the subject of medications, GOED stated “of the 14 studies included in the meta-analysis, GOED reviewed 10 of the associated publications and found that every one of the studies included subjects on at least one medication.”
The group also pointed to studies that have documented the important role of omega-3 fatty acids in cardiovascular health. “It has been estimated that low n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes account for 72,000-96,000 deaths per year from CVD in the United States alone,” GOED said.