Consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3s may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease; reduce health-care costs by $1.7 billion
A new study published in Lipid Technology highlights the potential positive impact of consumption of oil derived from menhaden, a U.S.-caught fish high in the omega-3s EPA and DHA, on public health across the country. Medical expenditures in the U.S. are the highest in the world, and cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality, costing more than $444 billion each year in direct and indirect costs (1).
The consumption of 1000 mg per day of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids by the at-risk population — as recommended by the American Heart Association — may reduce the risk of a coronary heart disease (CHD) event and reduce nationwide healthcare costs by $1.7 billion. This study determined that the current U.S. menhaden oil supply, sustainably sourced entirely in U.S. waters, could provide the recommended amount of EPA and DHA to all Americans over 55 with CHD.
Additionally, the excess menhaden oil could be used to supply the salmon farming industry, which in turn could help supply all pregnant and lactating women in the U.S. with the recommended weekly servings of oily fish. This is important due to the recent recommendation (2) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat 8-12 ounces of fish per week to support fetal neurodevelopment.
According to study author Douglas M. Bibus, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, “Consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty acids are principal tenants of public health recommendations in the U.S. to promote positive health and development. Omega 3 deficiency is now recognized to affect the majority of US citizens and is classified as a preventable cause of disease and death.”
He continued, “The present research highlights that people are not consuming adequate amounts of EPA and DHA, and normalizing dietary intakes of omega 3 has the potential to significantly impact public health while reducing rising health care costs.”
1. Shanahan, C., R. de Lorimier, Smart prevention-Health care cost savings resulting from the targeted use of dietary supplements. 2014. Available at: http://www.crnusa.org/CRNfoundation/HCCS/chapters/CRNFrostSullivan-fullreport0913.pdf
2. United States Food and Drug Administration, A quantitative assessment of the net effects on fetal neurodevelopment from eating commercial fish. 2014. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/UCM396785.pdf