12 January - 20 June 2016

Excess omega intake may have negative health effects

6 Nov 13

Previous studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids are associated with lower risk of sudden cardiac death and other cardiovascular disease outcomes, however a new paper published in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids suggests consuming excessive amounts of omega-3s from either supplementation, foods or a combination of both may increase the risk of negative health outcomes.  Previous research led by Jenifer Fenton and her collaborators found that feeding mice large amounts of dietary omega-3 fatty acids led to increased risk of colitis and immune alteration.  As a follow-up, Fenton and her co-authors reviewed the literature and discussed the potential adverse health outcomes that could result from excess consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.  Studies have shown that omega-3s, also known as long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), are associated with lower risk of sudden cardiac death and other cardiovascular disease outcomes.  Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which is one of the reasons they can be beneficial to heart health and inflammatory issues.  However, the researchers said excess amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can alter immune function sometimes in ways that may lead to a dysfunctional immune response to a viral or bacterial infection.  The researchers noted that the amounts of fish oil used in most studies are typically above what one could consume from foods or usual dosage of a dietary supplement.  However, an increasing amount of products, such as eggs, bread, butters, oils and orange juice, are being fortified with omega-3s.  They said that fortified food coupled with fish oil supplement use increase the potential for consuming these high levels.  The researchers concluded that until they establish valid biomarkers of omega-3 exposure, making good evidence-based dietary recommendations across potential dietary exposure ranges would not be possible.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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