Why are we so gullible?
I was looking through the Autumn edition of Private Schools magazine and inside there is an advert from @NutriAdvanced about their Eskimo-3 Bright Kids Jelly Splats. These are Omega-3 chewy bits of jelly containing “250mg Omega-3 DHA For Healthy Brain Function”.
(DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, is an essential fatty acid).
The issue I have with the advert is the opening claim which says, “Get Ahead Of The Class With….Eskimo-3 Bright Kids Jelly Splats”.
OMG, Omega-3. The wording is crafty and it is very misleading and deceptive. This is not ‘scientifically backed’ and in fact, it’s fake news so it’s one for the Advertising Standards Authority.
Let’s be clear here, taking these will not help children get ahead of the class and it’s irresponsible to say so. Naive consumers will think these ‘splats’ are going to work miracles and children will start outperforming their peers – they won’t.
Research has found no evidence Omega-3 fish oil supplements help aid or improve the reading ability or memory function of underperforming schoolchildren. They don’t help with ADHD either. It’s worth pointing out as well that Omega 3 supplements have little or no heart or vascular health benefit either.
Ben Goldacre has been writing for years about ‘bad science’ and he points to a “proper trial of fish oils pills in mainstream children, to see if they work: a well-conducted, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, in 450 children aged 8–10 years old from a mainstream school population.” The study found no improvement.
The worst part is that clinicians themselves aren’t reading the research and continue to prescribe Omega-3.
Omega-3 is often used and abused for marketing purposes because this makes money, big money. But we need to be informed and given the ‘facts’ not false positive results from dodgy trials.
The problem is, nutritional companies can be very selective in the research they cite and misrepresent it. In some cases they can’t offer any so they resort to idioms and fishy phrases that they hope people will fall for…and they do.
The message for parents is simple….don’t fall for this crap. Magical supplement pills don’t work. If you want to get ahead of the class you’ve just got to work hard and put in the hours and effort.