Heart Foundation attracts criticism for fish oil logo
A HEART Foundation decision to endorse certain fish oil supplements with its logo has attracted criticism from a leading nutritionist.
Fish oil products that have been independently tested and meet strict quality standards will be able to display the logo as part of a licensing program similar to the ‘heart tick’ for food products.
“It’s recommended that all Australians should aim to eat 2–3 serves of 150g of oily fish or seafood a week in order to reduce their risk of heart disease,” Tony Thirlwell, CEO of Heart Foundation NSW, said.
But nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton (PhD) questioned the wisdom of promoting the supplements.
“There is good evidence they reduce triglyceride levels but studies are just starting to come in for a variety of areas where fish oils were assumed to be valuable, finding no benefit,” Dr Stanton said.
Early claims that the supplements could protect against age-related decline have not been supported by evidence and two recent studies associated fish oil with raised LDL cholesterol, she said.
“Personally, I’d like to be more sure of fish oil supplements before promoting them,” Dr Stanton said. “Foods tend to be more complex than supplements and this often changes the effects. I’d like to see the Heart Foundation funding studies rather than promoting products.”
But the Heart Foundation said it was doing both.
“The Heart Foundation invested $13.6 million last year into cardiovascular research,” it said.
“Proceeds under the new licensing program will assist in funding further research.”