Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
omega-3 fatty acids, omega-3 index, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, food frequency questionnaire, dietary records, fish, dietary supplements
Background: An Omega-3 Index (O3I; EPA+DHA as a % of erythrocyte total fatty acids) in the desirable range (8%-12%) has been associated with improved heart and brain health.
Objective: To determine the combination of fish intake and supplement use that is associated with an O3I of >8%.
Design: Two cross-sectional studies comparing the O3I to EPA+DHA/fish intake.
Participants/setting: The first study included 28 individuals and assessed their fish and EPA+DHA intake using both a validated triple-pass 24-hr recall dietary survey and a single fish-intake question. The second study used de-identified data from 3,458 adults (84% from US) who self-tested their O3I and answered questions about their fish intake and supplement use.
Statistical analyses performed: Study 1, chi-squared, one-way ANOVA, and Pearson correlations were computed. In Study 2, multi-variable regression models were used to predict O3I levels from reported fish/supplement intakes.
Results: The mean ± SD O3I was 4.87 ± 1.32%, and 5.99 ± 2.29% in the first and second studies, respectively. Both studies showed that for every increase in fish intake category the O3I increased by 0.50–0.65% (p < 0.0001). In the second study, about half of the population was taking omega-3 supplements, 32% reported no fish intake and 17% reported eating fish >2 times per week. Taking an EPA+DHA supplement increased the O3I by 2.2% (p < 0.0001). The odds of having an O3I of ≥8% were 44% in the highest intake group (≥3 servings/week and supplementation) and 2% in the lowest intake group (no fish intake or supplementation); and in those consuming 2 fish meals per week but not taking supplements (as per recommendations), 10%.
Conclusion: Current AHA recommendations are unlikely to produce a desirable O3I. Consuming at least 3 fish servings per week plus taking an EPA+DHA supplement markedly increases the likelihood of achieving this target level.
Source Publication Title
Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Jackson, K. H., Polreis, J. M., Tintle, N. L., Kris-Etherton, P. M., & Harris, W. S. (2019). Association of Reported Fish Intake and Supplementation Status with the Omega-3 Index. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 142, 4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plefa.2019.01.002