Current intakes of EPA and DHA in European populations and the potential of animal-derived foods to increase them
Givens, D. I. and Gibbs, R. A. (2008) Current intakes of EPA and DHA in European populations and the potential of animal-derived foods to increase them. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 67 (3). pp. 273-280. ISSN 0029-6651
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1017/s0029665108007167
The beneficial effects of long-chain (C chain >= 20) n-3 PUFA are well documented and, overall, increased intake reduces risk of CVD. Recent evidence also points to a role in reducing, age-related decline in cognitive function. The two key fatty acids are EPA (20:5) and DHA (22:6), with current UK recommendation for adults being 450 mg EPA + DHA/d. Whilst some EPA and DHA can be synthesised in vivo from alpha-linolenic acid, recent data indicate this source to be very limited, Suggesting that EPA and DHA should be classified as dietary essentials. In many parts of Europe the daily intake of EPA + DHA by adults and especially young adults (18-24 years) is < 100 mg/d, since many never eat oily fish. Poultry meat contributes small but worthwhile amounts of EPA+DHA. Studies to enrich the EPA+DHA content of animal-derived foods mainly use fish oil in the diet of the animal. Recent work has shown that such enrichment has the potential to provide to the UK adult diet a daily intake of EPA+DHA of about 230 mg, with poultry meat providing the largest amount (74 mg). There are. however. concerns that the Continued and possibly increased use of fish oils in animals diets is not Sustainable and alternative approaches are being examined, including the genetic modification of certain plants to allow them to synthesise EPA and DHA from shorter-chain precursors.