Widespread Omega-3 Usage Could Save €12.9 Billion in Annual EU Healthcare Costs, Study Suggests


A new study conducted by Frost & Sullivan explores how widespread daily use of omega-3 supplements among older adults would cut down on hospital events related to cardiovascular disease.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/numbeos

Photo © iStockphoto.com/numbeos

A new study commissioned by European trade association Food Supplements Europe suggests widespread daily consumption of omega-3 supplements among older adults could save nearly €13 billion in EU healthcare costs.

Specifically, if EU adults aged 55 and over consumed 1000 mg/day of EPA and DHA omega-3 supplements derived from fish oil, there would be more than 1.5 million fewer hospital events attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD) between 2016 and 2020, according to researchers. Those eliminated hospital events would translate to a total cost savings of €12.9 billion per year, researchers concluded.

“This healthcare cost savings study shows very clearly that billions of euros could be saved by encouraging people aged 55-plus to use omega-3 food supplements regularly to reduce their risk of developing CVD,” said Ingrid Atteryd, chair of Food Supplements Europe. “Communicating this message through official advice at both the EU and national level, as well as via healthcare professionals and the media, could have a major positive impact on people’s wellbeing, while also significantly cutting the cost burden on healthcare systems and providers.”

The random-effects systematic review, conducted by researchers at Frost & Sullivan, is based on data suggesting daily use of omega-3 EPA and DHA supplements reduces the risk of a CVD-attributed adverse event by 4.9% in the target population. Researchers noted that among EU adults aged 55 and older (31% of the total EU population), 24% will likely experience a CVD-attributed hospital event between 2016 and 2020 (38.4 million people). It’s estimated that each CVD-attributed hospital event will cost €34,637, adding up to a total cost of €1.328 trillion to address CVD in the EU over the next five years.

Assuming that 100% of the EU population aged 55 and over used 1000 mg of EPA and DHA omega-3 supplements daily, researchers concluded that a total of €64.5 billion in healthcare costs could be saved between 2016 and 2020, or €12.9 billion per year.

Additionally, the potential financial savings varied between EU member states. Germany is positioned to experience the greatest economic benefit from increased omega-3 use, with a possible avoided cost of €3.86 billion per year, reports Food Supplements Europe.

Atteryd said this study offers further proof that “omega-3 food supplements have the potential to be a real force for good.”

“Our chief aim is to create a more favorable regulatory and commercial environment for food supplements in the EU, through demonstrating the highly positive role they can play in promoting good health and reducing healthcare costs,” said Atteryd. “This new report is a further step on that journey-and a very important one.”


Read more:

Adults Should Consume 500 mg EPA and DHA Omega-3s Daily, GOED Says

New Breakthroughs in Omega-3 Research

2016 Ingredient Trends to Watch for Food, Drinks, and Dietary Supplements: Omega-3


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine

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