Should we be prescribing fish oil supplements?

  • Li ZH & al.
  • BMJ
  • 4 Mar 2020

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Regular use of fish oil supplements may lower the risk for death and cardiovascular events, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published in the BMJ.

The analysis included 427,678 men and women aged 40-69 years without cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cancer enrolled from 2006 to 2010. Participants completed a questionnaire on supplement use, including fish oil.

Death certificates and hospital records were used to monitor all-cause mortality, CVD deaths and CVD events, through to 2018.

Almost a third (31.2%) of the participants reported taking regular fish oil supplements at baseline.

Multivariate analysis showed a 13 per cent reduction in all-cause mortality for habitual users of fish oil versus non-users (adjusted HR [aHR], 0.87; 95% CI, 0.83-0.90). CVD mortality decreased by 16 per cent (aHR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.78-0.91), and risk for incident CVD events reduced by 7 per cent (aHR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.90-0.96). For CVD events, the association appeared to be stronger among those with prevalent hypertension (Pfor interaction=.005).

Presented the results, the authors said: “These findings indicate that habitual fish oil supplementation could have a marginal benefit for CVD outcomes, but further studies are needed to examine how the dose of fish oil supplements affects its clinically meaningful effectiveness.”