A cross-sectional study conducted by supplement company Pharmavite analyzed U.S. population data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and found that in 945 children and 1,316 adults, the majority of Americans have serum biomarker reference ranges of circulating omega-3s which fall well short of the currently-recommended levels necessary to achieve reductions in cardiovascular risk, and this insufficiency was present in every age group.
The populations found to have particularly low EPA and/or DHA serum concentrations included children between the ages of 2 and 5, adult males, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic Black individuals.
“Low serum levels confirm that omega-3 fatty acid intakes fall short for most Americans, particularly young children, and it reveals that more work is needed in educating the public about the important role EPA, DPA, and DHA paly in supporting human health,” Dr. Susan Mitmesser, VP, Science and Technology, Pharmavite, said. “Healthy habits formed early in development inform and pave a healthy path later in life, so it’s critical that in addition to sleep and physical activity, young children have access to foods rich in essential nutrients including omega-3s.”
“Adults, particularly seniors, had the highest concentrations of serum EPA, DHA, and sum of LC omega-3s, although only around one quarter of adults, and approximately half of seniors, had concentrations corresponding to DGA consumption recommendations,” the authors of the study said. “The findings demonstrate overall low serum concentrations of LC omega-3 fatty acids including both EPA and DHA and the sum of LC omega-3 fatty acids across all life stages […] Healthcare practitioners need to ensure their patients are consuming enough LC omega-3 fatty acids in their daily diet, and if they are not, they need to consider the role of supplementation for their patients to ensure nutrient gaps are being met.”
These findings come on the heels of a previous Pharmavite-sponsored study published earlier this year which evaluated the relationship between depression and the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the circulatory system. Analysis of the data revealed that adults with higher omega-3 fatty acid levels had a lower risk of depression, and for adults with higher EPA, there was a lower risk that depression would have a more severe impact on daily life.
Mike Montemarano has been the Associate Editor of Nutraceuticals World since February 2020. He can be reached at email@example.com.