HEALTH BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3

Convincing evidence

There is good evidence that increased consumption of fish and dietary patterns with omega-3 LC PUFAs, including food supplements, are associated with the primary prevention of coronary heart disease by:

  • Risk factor reduction, e.g. blood pressure and blood triglycerides
  • Reduction of risk of coronary heart disease mortality (CHD)/fatal CHD events

Good fish and seafood sources of Omega-3

Mackeral

Kippers

Pilchards

Tuna (fresh or frozen)

Trout

Sprats

Salmon

Herring

Sardines

Crab (fresh)

Whitebait

Swordfish

Shark

Marlin

Filling the omega-3 nutrient gap

  • Individual fatty acids have unique biological properties and beneficial health effects.
  • Recommended dietary intake for EPA + DHA is 0.25 mg–2 mg/day for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
  • Globally and in the UK, typical intakes of marine omega-3 PUFAs are low.
  • Barriers to frequent fish consumption include taste, smell and concerns about bones, and choice of fish determines whether recommendations can be achieved.
  • Strategies for achieving recommendations for EPA + DHA are food based, specifically oily fish, fortified foods and food supplements.

Guidance for health professionals

  • It would seem prudent to encourage increased consumption of biologically active marine sources of omega-3 LC PUFAs for the general population.
  • Educational programmes to inform consumers about options to increase intake of marine omega-3 LC PUFAs.