Agents with omega-3 fatty acids tested: Why fish oil capsules are of little use
According to experts, no other nutritional supplements are bought as often as fish oil capsules. The background for this is evidence from various studies that omega-3 fatty acids could lower the risk of heart disease. But the Stiftung Warentest now reports that such capsules are superfluous.
Many people take omega-3 fatty acid capsules to do something for their health. However, according to the Stiftung Warentest, the hoped-for effect of the dietary supplements containing fish, algae or linseed oil has not been sufficiently proven. "There is no reason to take such funds," says the June issue of the magazine "test".
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital
Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and must therefore be ingested through food. They are healthy and vital.
As the consumer center explains on their website, omega-3 fatty acids improve the flow properties of the blood, inhibit blood clotting, lower blood pressure, have an anti-inflammatory effect and have a positive effect on triglyceride metabolism.
Therefore, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) considers 0.5 percent omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) based on daily calories to be appropriate. In an adult, this is about the amount contained in a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Dietary supplements are not necessary to meet the needs.
Dietary supplements and medication tested
The Stiftung Warentest examined 20 dietary supplements with omega-3 fatty acids - 14 with fish oil, four with algae oil, two with linseed oil.
Such funds are available in pharmacies, drug stores, supermarkets and online shops. The experts also tested three over-the-counter medications containing omega-3 fatty acids. These are approved for lowering increased triglycerides, i.e. special blood lipid levels that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The cost of the dietary supplements ranges from five to 90 cents a day. The drugs are sometimes even more expensive.
The experts found no pollutants in any product. According to the experts, the remedies are also not harmful to health, but they are superfluous as protection against, for example, a heart attack or stroke.
There is insufficient evidence of benefits
In order to achieve their results, the experts have evaluated medical studies on capsules with omega-3 fatty acids according to the current state of scientific knowledge as well as documents of the providers.
They also took into account publications by professional societies, the European Food Safety Authority Efsa, the European Medicines Agency Ema and national authorities, as well as legislation.
The experts conclude that the tested dietary supplements to protect against cardiovascular diseases are superfluous and the benefits have not been sufficiently demonstrated.
According to the information, this applies to healthy people as well as to risk patients who have already had a heart attack. Sufficient evidence was also not found for other areas of application such as the prevention of dementia or age-related eye diseases.
Covering needs through nutrition
Nevertheless, the Stiftung Warentest emphasizes that omega-3 fatty acids from food are valuable. Fat sea fish such as salmon, but also, for example, walnuts, linseed or rapeseed oil bring plenty of them with them.
According to the calculations of the experts, even with vegetable oils alone the need can be met well. Not everything has to be measured meticulously. It's the mix that counts.
Unhealthy fats such as snacks and sweets should be eaten little and healthy ones instead. Such a diet, combined with a lot of fruits and vegetables, protects the heart and circulation. In addition, this diet provides even more for health: vitamins, minerals and fiber. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Stiftung Warentest: Agents with omega-3 fatty acids in the test, Why fish oil capsules & Co bring little, (retrieval: 26.05.2020), Stiftung Warentest
- Stiftung Warentest: means with omega-3 fatty acids, superfluous, (retrieval: 26.05.2020), Stiftung Warentest
- Consumer advice center: Omega-3 fatty acid capsules a sensible food supplement ?, (accessed: May 26, 2020), consumer advice center