HSIS reaffirms need for fish oil in the diet

HSIS responds to a study[1] published in the Journal of Biochemistry, which examined the long-term consumption of virgin olive, sunflower and fish oils and damage to the liver.


Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Health and Food Supplements Information Service said: “In this study[1], rats were fed an extreme high fat diet consisting of around 70% fat by weight. In comparison, the human diet is only 35-40% of daily calories from fat.

“The study has no bearing whatsoever on human health, despite the optimistic comments of the researchers.

“First, because rats are physiologically different from humans and second, because we consume small amounts of fish oils alongside antioxidant fruits and vegetables which protect us from oxidation (cell damage).

“Current UK intakes of omega-3s from marine oils are only 1/5 of the amount recommended by the American Heart Association.

“Supplements on the market contain a modest level of fish oils well within European safety limits so there’s no danger in taking these at the recommended dose.

“We should be encouraging people to consume more fish oils, through eating salmon and mackerel, or by taking a daily fish oil supplement; not scaring them off with artificial studies on rats.”


[1] Alfonso Varela-Lopez, María Patricia Pérez-López, César Luis Ramirez-Tortosa, Maurizio Battino, Sergio Granados-Principal, María del Carmen Ramirez-Tortosa, Julio José Ochoa, Laura Vera-Ramirez, Francesca Giampieri, José Luis Quiles. Gene pathways associated with mitochondrial function, oxidative stress and telomere length are differentially expressed in the liver of rats fed lifelong on virgin olive, sunflower or fish oilsThe Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2018; 52: 36 DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.09.007