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Omega-3 Q&A - Part Two


The Proven Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cardiovascular Disease

● Fish and fish oil proven to be profoundly beneficial in all major types of cardiovascular disease

● Benefits shown in high risk and low risk populations

● Benefits shown both in epidemiological surveys and controlled trials

● Summary of evidence demonstrates significant benefit from average consumption of 0.5 – 1.8 gram EPA/DHA per day

● AHA 2010 reports average US intake of EPA/DHA is 0.1-0.2g/day

Clinical evidence of omega-3 in CVD

The Gissi trial

Clinical Evidence:  In a study of 11,324 coronary heart disease sufferers, who were already taking standard therapies for heart disease, the consumption of 1.0g per day of EPA/DHA reduced risk of sudden cardiac death by 45% and overall mortality by 20% (The Lancet, 1999)

Q) What is the recommended daily  intake of Omega-3?


  • 1991* - Minimum level of ALA necessary to prevent deficiency 0.56g
  • Recommended level of EPA/DHA  0.1g
  • 1994** - Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.2g
  • 2004*** - Recommended level of EPA/DHA 0.45g

*Report of Health Committee on Medical Aspects of Nutrition Policy (COMA)

** COMA Update


Q) How much omega-3 is in the typical British diet ?


Total Omega-3 in British diet:

Men   2.3g      Women 1.7g

(Henderson et al  2003)

EPA + DHA (Estimate)

  • Oily fish eaters (27%) - 244mg
  • White fish eaters - 113mg
  • Non-fish eaters - 46mg                                                       

(Givens & Gibbs 2006)

Q) So where does our Omega 3 come from? Omega-3 rich oils —Sources and Types


Plant oil

Flaxseed oil (50-60%)

Soybean oil (7-8%)

Rape oil       (9.6%)

α- linolenic acid (ALA)

Fish oil

Oily fish      1g/100g fish

White fish   1g/Kg fish




The Total Amount of EPA/DHA Is More Important Than The Ratio

  • Most fish we eat is higher in DHA than EPA, whereas most fish oil is higher in EPA than DHA.
  • Most research is concluding that presence of both EPA and DHA is more beneficial than a heavy predominance of one over the other.
  • The combined level of EPA/DHA is more important than the ratio.
  • Fish Oil supplements vary enormously in potency so look at the EPA/DHA level – even from an economic point of view!!


So we are agreed that omega 3 fish oils have major health benefits for everyone from 0-100 years of age.

The problem is only 27% of the population ever eat oily fish – and how frequently?

Q) Important Question – how much EPA/DHA do we need??


  • Everyday maintenance - 500-1000mg/day
  • Prevention - 1000-1500mg/day
  • Therapy - 2500-5000mg/day

Q) What are the advantages of Omega 3 fish oil supplements


  • Fish oil supplements are less contaminated.
  • Fish oil supplements offer opportunity for adequate daily dose of omega-3! Functional foods generally don’t!
  • Unless you are eating a large portion  oily fish 3 times per week, you are not getting the minimum recommended  level of EPA/DHA.
  • Everyone needs to take fish oil!!
  • Some people need more!!
  • No one needs to take more than 4 teaspoons per day!!*


One of the key and important factors in your choice of which fish oil to choose to buy is very often how ‘natural’ the oil is and what kind of quality it is? These questions, are both very sensible questions to ask.

Our Aliment oil is the ‘Triglyceride oil’ which means the EPA/DHA is standardised in a certain way which is thought to be more ‘natural’. Also, instead of using alcohol in this process, we use enzymes which are much closer to nature.


Some results to think about!!

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and AA (Arachidonic Acid) - Essential Fatty Acids in Infant Nutrition

  • DHA and AA show positive correlation between dietary intake, umbilical cord concentration and birthweight - and head circumference Crawford et al, 1989; Koletzko & Brown, 1991
  • Children aged 7 - 8 years of age who had previously been fed formula milk devoid of DHA, performed less well in intelligence tests than breast fed equivalents Lucas et al, 1992
  • Brain tissue of formula fed babies (examined in autopsy) have 22% less DHA than breast fed equivalents Farquarson et al, 1992
  • Breast milk of vegetarian mothers contains 50 - 70% less DHA than omnivorous controls. Similarly, vegetarian born babies have lower levels of DHA in blood and tissues  Reddy et al, 1994;  Lakin et al, 1998

Glossary of Terms

AA           Arachadonic acid

EFA          Essential Fatty Acids

ALA         Alpha Linolenic Acid

DHA        Docosahexaenoic acid

EPA         Eicosapentaenoic acid

CVD        Cardiovascular disease