EMA rules omega-3 medicines ‘not effective’ – no longer authorised for heart attack

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said omega-3 fatty acid medicines are not effective in preventing further heart and blood vessels problems after heart attack – meaning medicines containing DHA and EPA for this purpose will no longer be authorised for use

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Omega-3 no protection against heart attack or strokes

Posted 19 July 2018

Omega-3 no protection against heart attack or strokes, say scientists

Supplements do not offer cardiovascular benefits, researchers conclude from trials involving 112,000 people

Sarah Boseley Health editor The Guardian 18 Jul 2018

The widespread belief that taking omega-3 capsules will help protect you from a heart attack, stroke or early death is wrong, according to a large and comprehensive review of the evidence.

Thousands of people take omega-3 supplements regularly and for years. The belief that it protects the heart has spread – and is promoted in the marketing of the supplements – because the results from early trials suggested the capsules had cardiovascular benefits.

Small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for our health. Omega-3 fats are found in certain foods – most famously in oily fish such as salmon and cod liver oil, which contain the long chain fats called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Read the rest

Are omega-3s just snake oil?

Posted 06 August 2014

This interesting article written by Elizabeth Preston raises a few interesting points, including how evidence from old studies may have been misinterpreted or miscommunicated, and these effects on claims and ongoing studies.

In the 1970s, a pair of Danish researchers ventured north of the Arctic Circle and into medical lore. Studying a scattered Inuit population, they concluded that eating plenty of fish and other marine animals protected this group from heart disease. The researchers would eventually suggest that everyone else’s hearts and arteries might also benefit from the “Eskimo diet,” promoting a health food trend that continues to this day. The only trouble is, the two Danes never proved that the Inuit had low rates of heart disease. They never tested it at all.

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Solal loses and wins

Posted 08 February 2012

Solal was advertising a product with the claims that Omega-3 reduced the risk of heart disease. A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA arguing that these claims were against Appendix F, which states “1. Advertisements should not make or offer products, treatments or advice for any of the following illnesses or conditions unless recommendations accord with a full product registration by the Medicines Control Council (MCC)” followed by a list of conditions. The ASA ruled in the consumer’s favour, Solal appealed, the ASA ruled in the consumer favour, and Solal appealed to the Final Appeal Committee (FAC), chaired by Judge King.

The FAC has overturned that ruling that the advertisement by Solal was in breach of Appendix F. But this was not a complete win for Solal – firstly Solal have been arguing that the ASA has no jurisdiction over Appendix F. Not so Read the rest

Solal loses ASA appeal on Omega 3

Posted 11 October 2011

This ruling is a significant ruling. Solal has argued that the ASA has no jurisdiction over Appendix F of the ASA. First Judge Mervyn King of the ASA' Final Appeal Committee (FAC), and now the ASC, has thrown out the arguments stating unequivocally that they have full jurisdiction over this appendix.

"Clearly the main aim of the Appeal is to shoot down Appendix F. The Appellant advances 4 arguments in pursuit of its appeal . . . "

The ASA concludes:

"That matter was concluded by the Final Appeal Committee in April2011 and its views on Appendix F being part of the Code are clearly set out at paragraphs 7 and 8 of the ruling. There is no suggestion that the MCC has sought to have the Code or Appendix F amended. That would be the correct way for the MCC to approach the issue if

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Omega-3 lesson: Not so much brain boost as fishy research

One tiny brain-imaging study of fatty acids has been used to endorse fish oil as education’s magic pill. Oddly enough, someone has now finally conducted a proper trial of fish oil pills, in mainstream children, to see if they work: a well-conducted, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, in 450 children aged 8–10 years from a mainstream school population. It was published in full this year – and the researchers found no improvement.

Dr Ben Goldacre has written in his column in the Guardian on the evidence for the claims for Omega 3.


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