Supplementing with omega-3 daily could improve health and cut healthcare costs across Europe by billions. [Photo: Bigstock]

Higher omega-3 consumption could cut EU healthcare costs by billions

31 May, 2016

Natural Health News — More widespread regular consumption of omega-3 supplements could save healthcare systems and providers in the EU billions every year, according to a new independent study

Using existing published literature and official data, researchers commissioned by Food Supplements Europe, explored the benefits of the consumption of omega-3 EPA+DHA food supplements among people aged 55 and over from a financial perspective.

This age group, representing 157.6 million people or 31% of the total EU population, is considered to be at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

What you need to know

» Evidence for the health benefits of omega-3 supplementation, particularly for those at risk of heart disease, is well established.

» A new analysis has attempted to quantify what those benefits might translate into healthcare cost savings in the highest risk groups – those over age 55.

» According to the researchers if, between now and 2020, Europeans over 55 took just 1000mg a day of omega 3 it would save European healthcare systems €64.5bn (£49bn) – or €12.9bn (£9.8bn) per year.

It is estimated that in the EU, 24% of people aged 55 and over (38.4 million people) are in danger of being hospitalised with CVD between 2016 and 2020. This is expected to cost as much as €1.328 trillion during this 5-year period – equivalent to €34,637 per illness.

Substantial savings

But the new analysis suggests that more widespread daily consumption of 1000mg of omega-3 EPA+DHA fish oil in 55-plus age group 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 €64.5bn (£49bn) – or €12.9bn (£9.8bn) per year.

The results of the study 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, which represents the interests of the European food supplement industry, 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. Communicating this message through official advice at both EU and national level, as well as via healthcare professionals and the media, could have a major positive impact on people’s well-being, while also significantly cutting the cost burden on healthcare systems and providers.’

A force for good

The study found that the annual financial savings achievable through more widespread regular use of omega – supplements varied between EU member states. The biggest economic benefits would be seen in Germany, which could avoid costs of €3.86bn a year, according to the research findings.

Ms Atteryd added that the study “carries a powerful and compelling message, which shows that omega-3 food supplements have the potential to be a real force for good.’