GOED calls on US Dietary Guidelines omega-3 rethink

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary guidelines, Omega-3 fatty acid

The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega 3s (GOED) says draft US Dietary Guidelines ignore the role EPA and DHA supplements and fortified foods can play in the prevention of heart disease and other chronic illnesses in healthy people.

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Backing similar comments submitted in the guideline comment period by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, GOED said the draft guidelines needed to be rethought with greater credence given to the role dietary supplements and functional foods can play in promoting health and making up for nutrient shortfalls in the diets of millions of Americans.

“The Dietary Guidelines are intended for healthy Americans first and foremost. If indeed, the threshold of cardiovascular benefit to be achieved from EPA+DHA consumption is higher than 250 mg/d in the general population, then final recommendations should reflect 250 mg/d as a minimum rather than an optimal intake recommendation,”​ GOED wrote.

“Furthermore, if intakes greater than 250 mg/d are associated with reduced risk of nonfatal events, then final recommendations should be broadened to reflect a range of benefits between 250-500 mg/d as suggested by the evidence available to the Committee.”

The draft guidelines stated, “…there is no [or limited] evidence to support a recommendation for the use of multivitamin/mineral supplements in the primary prevention of chronic disease”​.

In another submission, Loren Israelsen, the executive director of the United Natural Products Association (UNPA), stated of the supplements conclusion: “Such a conclusion is neither in the best interest of the health and well-being of Americans nor adequately representative of the existing data.”

The comment period has seen a flood of responses from industry groups, academics and companies including Kellogg’s, Martek, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the League of Vegan Enthusiasts (LOVE).

GOED’s submission, submitted by the Salk Lake City-based group’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs, Harry B. Rice, added that the final guidelines should highlight fish that were high in omega-3 and that a minimum recommendation of at least 250mg of EPA/DHA per day should form part of the guidelines.

Rice also added that fish oil extracts contained significantly lower levels of mercury and other contaminants than fish and which prompted the Guidelines Committee to warn consumers to, “pay attention to local seafood advisories and limit their intake of large, predatory fish”.

“Consider that the GOED Voluntary Monograph (applicable to oils rich in omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids obtained from fish, plant, or microbial sources), agreed to be adhered to by all members, requires the presence of less than 0.1ppm mercury in refined fish oil,”​ Rice wrote.

“This is substantially lower than measured mercury levels in fresh fish and seafood as described in FDA’s website ‘Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish’.”

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