National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
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Health Topics A-Z

Most Used Natural Products

7.8% of U.S. adults (18.8 million) used
fish oil/omega-3/DHA, EPA fatty acids

Fish oil was the most popular natural product used by adults in the United States in 2012. Nearly 8 million more adults used fish oil in 2012 than in 2007.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a kind of fat found in foods, such as seafood and oils, plants, and in the human body. There isn’t convincing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease or slow the progression of an eye condition called age-related macular degeneration. Researchers are studying them to see if they may help relieve symptoms of depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and dry eye syndrome.

Read more about omega-3 fatty acids.

Adults

4 Citation: Clarke TC, Black LI, Stussman BJ, Barnes PM, Nahin RL. Trends in the use of complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2002–2012. National health statistics reports; no 79. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015. (240KB PDF)

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Most Used Natural Products

1.1% of U.S. children (664,000) used
fish oil/omega-3/DHA, EPA fatty acids

Fish oil was the most popular natural product used by children in the United States in 2012. Nearly 270,000 more children used fish oil in 2012 than in 2007.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods, such as seafood and oils, plants, and in the human body. Eating seafood may be a healthier practice than taking fish oil dietary supplements, even though the supplements may contain larger amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Research findings are unclear about the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Parents should be aware that many complementary health approaches have not been tested for safety or effectiveness in children.

Read more about omega-3 fatty acids.

Children

5 Citation: Black LI, Clarke TC, Barnes PM, Stussman BJ, Nahin RL. Use of complementary health approaches among children aged 4-17 years in the United States: National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2012. National health statistics reports; no 78. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015. (229KB PDF)

* Note: PDF files require a viewer such as the free Adobe Reader.

This page last modified September 24, 2017