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Dispatches from Euro Fed Lipid Congress, Montpellier

UK researcher backs supplements for boosting omega-3 intakes

By Anna Bonar+

22-Sep-2014
Last updated on 22-Sep-2014 at 13:35 GMT2014-09-22T13:35:49Z

"It’s very hard to have too much omega-3," said professor Calder.
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Omega-3 supplements are key to boosting intakes, a UK researcher says, and marine omega-3 fatty acids are more beneficial than their plant-based counterparts.

While eating fish remained most obvious source of omega-3 fatty acids, Calder suggested omega-3 supplementation could help achieve the required intake.

“If you eat oily fish you can eat quite high doses of omega-3s that can often be difficult through supplementation. On the other hand, people can take supplements every day and they may not want to eat oily fish every day."

Professor Philip Calder from the University of Southampton said marine-sourced omega-3s held greater immediate bioavailability than their plant-based cousins.

“The plant omega-3 fatty acids themselves don’t have much biological activity, but they need to be converted to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and then onto DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) to be effective and that conversion in humans isn’t very good,” Calder told NutraIngredients.

Optimal intake?

Calder governments and other organisations usually recommended intakes of at least several hundred of mg per day.

“The average person is probably consuming one tenth of that amount. I think probably a gram a day is what people are going to need for cardiovascular protection. It’s very hard to have too much omega-3."

Calder encouraged the food industry to do more to introduce omega-3s into foods.

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