EPA and DHA status of South Asian and white Canadians living in the National Capital Region of Canada

Lipids. 2014 Oct;49(10):1057-69. doi: 10.1007/s11745-014-3942-3. Epub 2014 Aug 23.

Abstract

To minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), most dietary guidelines have recommended consuming 500 mg/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or two servings of oily fish/week. The sum of percent EPA and DHA in red blood cell (RBC) total fatty acids-termed the omega-3 index-has been proposed as a biomarker for assessing the risk of death from CVD. The omega-3 indices of ≤4, >4 to <8 and ≥8 % have been proposed to be associated with high, intermediate and low CVD risks, respectively. In this study, we determined the EPA + DHA intake level and the omega-3 index of South Asian Canadians (SAC; n = 308) and white Canadians (WC; n = 341) age 20-79 years living in the National Capital Region of Canada. The mean EPA + DHA intake levels were 569 ± 571 mg/day for SAC and 684 ± 865 mg/day for WC and 46 % of SAC and 43 % of WC met the recommended EPA + DHA intake level of 500 mg/day. The mean omega-3 indices were 6.6 and 5.9 % for SAC and WC respectively. The suggested cardio-protective target level for the omega-3 index of ≥8 % was observed only in 19.8 % of SAC and in 9.4 % of WC subjects. The majority of the participants (74.4 % of SAC and 82.7 % of WC) were in the >4 to <8 % range. These results suggest that although study participants' dietary intake of EPA + DHA is adequate, this intake was not sufficient to provide an omega-3 index that is considered cardio-protective.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diet
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Ontario
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid