UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Health Services Administration | Lipids | Molecular, Genetic, and Biochemical Nutrition | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Therapeutics


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this review is to assess whether dietary fish oil supplements can be appropriate for patients with elevated triglycerides and cardiovascular risk based on a comprehensive analysis of their composition, and level of regulatory oversight.

RECENT FINDINGS: Approximately 19 million people in the United States take fish oil supplements, many for the purpose of treating or preventing heart disease. Unlike prescription products, fish oil supplements are classified as food by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not required to undergo manufacturing oversight or clinical testing. Analysis of widely used dietary fish oil supplements show that they may have lower amounts of omega-3 than advertised as well as significant levels of saturated fat and oxidized oils which actually may contribute to dyslipidemia. Clinical outcome trials have failed to show a consistent cardiovascular benefit with fish oil supplements and other low-dose mixed omega-3 fatty acids.

SUMMARY: In light of limited regulatory oversight and evidence of quality concerns, dietary fish oil supplements are not an appropriate substitute for FDA approved prescription omega-3 fatty acids for their indicated use in treatment of elevated triglycerides or the prevention of cardiovascular events.


fish oil, oxidized lipids, supplement

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND),where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

DOI of Published Version



Curr Opin Lipidol. 2020 Apr;31(2):94-100. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0000000000000665. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Current opinion in lipidology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.