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Study Finds Omega-3 Intake Levels Well Below Recommended Levels

Omega-3’s have been shown to have many health benefits, including improving eye health, improving cardiovascular disease risks, fighting inflammation, and reducing the risk of depression. According to a new study, intakes of omega-3 fatty acids are well below the recommended levels in the United States.


Researchers from various universities examined data from the 2003-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Intakes of fish and omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA were calculated for 45,347 people, ranging in age from toddlers and young children (1 to 5) through to mature adults (55 and older).


The researchers found that children aged 1-19 had significantly lower omega-3 intake compared to adults and seniors. Intakes for children were only approximately 40% of the intake recommended by the National Academy of Medicine. Women had lower intake levels than men, particularly adult and senior women. Women also consumed less fish than men, 5.8 servings per month compared to 6.1 servings.


Average intakes for all adults and seniors were well below recommended levels. Specifically, intakes were just 16% and 21%, respectively, of the 325 mg/day per 1,000 calories recommended by the Workshop on the Essentiality of and Recommended Dietary Intake for Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. When the researchers used the minimum recommendation of 200 mg/day given by many organizations, they found that the majority of adults and seniors met less than 60% of the intake recommendation.


The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Arizona, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of California Riverside. It was published January 15, 2019 in the journal Nutrients.

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