Analysis of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Content in Fish Oil Products.

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Omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosehexaenoic acid (DHA), often found in fish oil supplements, have been linked to cardiovascular benefits in proper doses.Quantify serving sizes and EPA and DHA content of fish oil products and determine which products contain appropriate amounts of EPA and DHA per serving to lower cholesterol.Products were identified through the National Institutes of Health’s Dietary Supplement Label Database using the search term “fish oil.” Product labels were reviewed for EPA and DHA content. The number of units, such as capsules, gummies, or milliliters, necessary to obtain a total of at least 2,000 mg of EPA and DHA was also evaluated. Descriptive statistics were used to report findings.Of 493 products identified, 231 products were analyzed. Two (0.9%) products, both of which were liquid formulations, contained at least 2,000 mg of EPA and DHA in the standard serving size listed on the labeling. The total amount of EPA and DHA per serving ranged from 60.2 mg to 2684 mg with an average of 697 mg. The number of servings necessary to achieve 2,000 mg of EPA and DHA ranged from 1 to 34 servings with an average of 5 servings.Serving sizes of fish oil products rarely result in adequate EPA and DHA intake to provide cholesterol-lowering benefit. Instruction by a trained healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist, is important to ensure patients are taking an appropriate serving of fish oil to obtain cardiovascular benefit.

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Authors: Eileen D Ward, Katelyn Thomasson, K Robin Fischer