More widespread regular consumption of omega-3 supplements could save healthcare systems and providers in the European Union a total of €12.9 billion per year, according to an independent study commissioned by Food Supplements Europe.
Using existing published literature and official data, researchers at Frost & Sullivan explored the financial benefits of the consumption of omega-3 EPA+DHA food supplements among people aged 55 years and older. This demographic group, representing 157.6 million people, or 31 percent, of the total EU population, is considered to be at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Overall, it’s forecast that in the EU, 24 percent of people aged 55 years and older (i.e., 38.4 million people) are in danger of experiencing a CVD-attributed hospital event between 2016 and 2020. This is expected to cost as much as €1.328 trillion over this five-year period—equivalent to €34,637 per event.
However, an analysis indicates that more widespread daily consumption of 1,000 mg of omega-3 EPA+DHA fish oil among individuals aged 55 and older would result in more than 1.5 million fewer CVD-attributed hospital events across the EU between now and 2020, generating total cost savings of €64.5 billion, or €12.9 billion per year.
The study found that the annual financial savings achievable through more widespread regular use of omega-3 supplements varied between EU member states. The biggest economic benefits would be seen in Germany, which could avoid costs of €3.86 billion per year, according to the research findings.
The omega-3 healthcare cost savings study was commissioned and funded by Food Supplements Europe and conducted independently by Frost & Sullivan, which autonomously developed the methodology to calculate the cost savings. Study results are detailed in a new report, “The Healthcare Cost Savings of Omega 3 Food Supplements in the European Union."
Ingrid Atteryd, chair of Food Supplements Europe, said, “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 … It carries a powerful and compelling message which shows that Omega 3 food supplements have the potential to be a real force for good."
According to Atteryd, the study furthers the EU’s efforts to create a more favorable regulatory environment for food supplements.
“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," she said. “This new report is a further step on that journey—and a very important one."