GOED Advises Omega-3 Companies Not to Make Viral Immunity Claims


A search through every human clinical trial on omega-3s yielded zero conclusive evidence that omega-3s have a role in viral immunity, GOED said.

Now, more than ever, supplement and nutrition companies are under a close eye in regard to viral immunity claims. The fact that it is illegal to claim that a dietary supplement or food product can cure, prevent, or treat any disease will certainly be in the limelight as an unprecedented global health crisis goes on.
To take things a step further, the Global Organization for EPA and DHA (GOED) a trade group representing omega-3 supplement and food companies, has issued an advisory that no human clinical research supports omega-3s providing any kind of benefit for viral immunity.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and confusion about the role omega-3s play in immunity-based protection, GOED has issued an industry advisory on the topic. Using a proprietary clinical study database of all human studies on omega-3s, GOED has completed a literature search on this topic and does not believe the science supports a claim about viral immunity of any kind.
“Given the context – COVID-19 – the scientific literature on viral immunity (not general immunity) is what is relevant,” GOED said in the advisory. “
GOED ran a search using the following query string: (virus OR viral OR influenza) AND (eicosapentaenoic OR docosahexaenoic OR docosapentaenoic OR omega-3 OR “fish oil” OR “cod liver oil” OR “krill oil” OR “n-3PUFA” OR “n-3 PUFA”), which returned 22 interventional studies, mostly positive, and one relevant neutral systematic review. The issue is that the majority of the studies were conducted in diseased populations so it would be difficult to argue that this population would have the same immune response as an otherwise healthy individual. GOED did another search related to general immunity and, based on a quick review of the article titles (both meta-analyses and interventional trials), it appears the majority of the studies were conducted in diseased populations, again making it difficult to draw any reasonable conclusions in a healthy population. Based on this research, GOED concludes that there is an insufficient body of scientific literature to connect EPA/DHA to benefits of either positive general or viral immunity outcomes in a healthy population.”
GOED said that it believes a general “immunity” claim on a product could be considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to be an implied claim about COVID-19 given the current environment.