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Jumping on the Omega-3 Bandwagon: Distinguishing the Role of Long-Chain and Short-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Citation

Turchini, GM and Nichols, PD and Barrow, C and Sinclair, AJ, Jumping on the Omega-3 Bandwagon: Distinguishing the Role of Long-Chain and Short-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 52, (9) pp. 795-803. ISSN 1040-8398 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC

DOI: doi:10.1080/10408398.2010.509553

Abstract

Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFA) are almost unanimously recognized for their health benefits, while only limited evidence of any health benefit is currently available specifically for the main precursor of these fatty acids, namely α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3). However, both the n-3 LC-PUFA and the short-chain C18 PUFA (i.e., ALA) are commonly referred to as "omega-3" fatty acids, and it is difficult for consumers to recognize this difference. A current gap of many food labelling legislations worldwide allow products containing only ALA and without n-3 LC-PUFA to be marketed as "omega-3 source" and this misleading information can negatively impact the ability of consumers to choose more healthy diets. Within the context of the documented nutritional and health promoting roles of omega-3 fatty acids, we briefly review the different metabolic fates of dietary ALA and n-3 LC-PUFA. We also review food sources rich in n-3 LC-PUFA, some characteristics of LC-PUFA and current industry and regulatory trends. A further objective is to present a case for regulatory bodies to clearly distinguish food products containing only ALA from foods containing n-3 LC-PUFA. Such information, when available, would then avoid misleading information and empower consumers to make a more informed choice in their food purchasing behavior.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3), eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-3, DPA), docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA), omega-3, omega-3 long-chain PUFA, food labelling
Research Division:Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries Sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - Aquaculture
Objective Field:Fisheries - Aquaculture not elsewhere classified
Author:Nichols, PD (Dr Peter Nichols)
ID Code:119607
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Centre for Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-08-03
Last Modified:2017-10-16
Downloads:0

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