Omega-3 fatty acids in Hawaii seafood

Hawaii Med J. 1994 May;53(5):142-5.


Omega-3 fatty acids, the most potent of which are found in seafood, are of interest because of their effects on cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases and their possible effects on cancer. However, consumers in Hawaii wishing to increase their dietary omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio are faced with the difficulty that several types of seafood popular in Hawaii and aquacultured seafood new in the marketplace have unknown omega-3 fatty acid levels. The purpose of this work is to determine omega-3 fatty acid levels of selected seafood and fish oil capsules. Several seafoods and some over-the-counter fish oil capsules were sampled and analyzed. Aku eggs, aquacultured hamachi (yellowtail jack from Japan), one sample of turbot, and EPA Plus, Promega, and Omega-3 Super EPA capsules were found to contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Levels were comparable to those in the fatty fishes such as salmon and mackerel. Butterfish, mahimahi eggs; other fish oil capsules (ProEPA and Omega 3) contained moderate levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish cakes, seaweed, several lean fishes, and cod liver oil capsules had small quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. It appeared that the omega-3 fatty acid content of aquacultured species studied was significantly higher than in wild caught species. There was a substantial difference between claimed and actual omega-3 fatty acid levels in commercially available fish oil capsules. These findings can help consumers when selecting types of seafood for their diet that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / analysis*
  • Fish Oils / analysis
  • Hawaii
  • Seafood / analysis*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils