Microencapsulated foods as a functional delivery vehicle for omega-3 fatty acids: a pilot study

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 May 29;6:12. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-12.


It is well established that the ingestion of the omega-3 (N3) fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) positively benefit a variety of health indices. Despite these benefits the actual intake of fish derived N3 is relatively small in the United States. The primary aim of our study was to examine a technology capable of delivering omega-3 fatty acids in common foods via microencapsulation (MicroN3) in young, healthy, active participants who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease. Accordingly, we randomized 20 participants (25.4 +/- 6.2 y; 73.4 +/- 5.1 kg) to receive the double blind delivery of a placebo-matched breakfast meal (~2093 kJ) containing MicroN3 (450-550 mg EPA/DHA) during a 2-week pilot trial. Overall, we observed no differences in overall dietary macronutrient intake other than the N3 delivery during our treatment regimen. Post-test ANOVA analysis showed a significant elevation in mean (SE) plasma DHA (91.18 +/- 9.3 vs. 125.58 +/- 11.3 umol/L; P < 0.05) and a reduction in triacylglycerols (89.89 +/- 12.8 vs. 80.78 +/- 10.4 mg/dL; P < 0.05) accompanying the MicroN3 treatment that was significantly different from placebo (P < 0.05). In post study interviews, participants reported that the ingested food was well-tolerated, contained no fish taste, odor or gastrointestinal distress accompanying treatment. The use of MicroN3 foods provides a novel delivery system for the delivery of essential fatty acids. Our study demonstrates that MicroN3 foods promote the absorption of essential N3, demonstrate bioactivity within 2 weeks of ingestion and are well tolerated in young, active participants who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease.