Omega-3 DHA Dosage Levels for Foetus, Infant, and Young Children – European Food Safety Authority Response January 4, 2010 No Comments

At the request of the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) backed up DHA-related brain and eye health claims for infants.

EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) said DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) levels of 100mg of per day were appropriate for 7-24 month-old infants along with 200mg per day for pregnant and lactating women.

The following are the DHA Claims supported by EFSA’s panel:

“DHA intake can contribute to normal brain development of the foetus, infant and young children”
“DHA intake can contribute to normal development of the eye of the foetus, infant and young children”
“DHA intake can contribute to the visual development of the infant”
The NDA said any more specific brain and eye functions would need to be backed by further science.

“Please note that developmental steps are not directly related to cognitive functions as it may depend on brain domains and areas,” NDA head of unit, Dr Juliane Kleiner wrote in the advice. “Therefore to support a claim for DHA and cognitive function more studies using different parameters would be needed.”


Researchers See Benefits of Omega-3s on Vision and Cognition December 16, 2009 No Comments

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

DENVER, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ — Researchers are seeing more benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s), such as their ability to help prevent and slow age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that is the leading cause of severe vision loss in older people. Fish consumption also seems to benefit seniors by thwarting dementia and the omega-3s in fish may improve cognition in adolescents and children. New research in these areas is described in the September 2009 PUFA Newsletter and Fats of Life e-newsletters.

In 10 years of follow-up, the Blue Mountains Eye Study in Australia reported that older adults who ate fish weekly and those with the highest intakes of omega-3s from all sources were significantly less likely to develop early AMD. In U.S. research, late stage AMD was delayed in people who had the highest intakes of seafood omega-3s plus a diet with a low glycemic index (minimal impact on blood sugar levels after consumption).

Eating fish regularly also seems to help prevent dementia. A large study in several low- and middle-income countries found that fish consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in adults aged 65 or older.

“Fish consumption appears to be protective in most, if not all, populations,” said Joyce Nettleton, D.Sc., editor of the PUFA Newsletter and Fats of Life. “This has clear implications for reducing the burden of mental illness in aging populations worldwide.”

Seafood omega-3s may benefit mental health and brain function in younger people, too, according to other research. In toddlers, those whose mothers had higher intakes of the omega-3 DHA had greater attention and were less easily distracted compared with toddlers of low DHA mothers. Older children who consumed a spread enriched with seafood omega-3s for six months had significantly improved verbal learning ability and memory. In Sweden, adolescent males who ate fish more than once a week scored significantly higher on intelligence assessments than males who ate fish less than once a week.

“These studies are among the first to document cognitive improvements with greater fish or omega-3 consumption in childhood and adolescence,” Nettleton noted. “It appears that omega-3s may benefit people of all ages.”

The quarterly PUFA Newsletter and Fats of Life, sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products, are accessible at

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Joyce A. Nettleton, D.Sc.

SOURCE Fats of Life

Fish Oil Benefits Heart Health – Compelling New Evidence December 4, 2009 No Comments



A new study, published in the August 11, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reviewed data on four trials involving almost 40,000 participants and overwhelmingly confirmed the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, in treatment after heart attack and, most recently, in heart failure patients.  

“This isn’t just hype; we now have tremendous and compelling evidence from very large studies, some dating back 20 and 30 years, that demonstrate the protective benefits of omega-3 fish oil in multiple aspects of preventive cardiology,” said Carl Lavie, M.D., F.A.C.C., medical director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, LA, and lead author of the article. “The strongest evidence of a cardioprotective effect of omega-3s appears in patients with established cardiovascular disease and following a heart attack with up to a 30 percent reduction in CV-related death.”

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), the long-chain fatty acids in the omega-3 family found abundant in fish have the most compelling evidence. According to Dr. Lavie, EPA and DHA work by getting into the membranes of cells and, in doing so, may help to improve the heart’s electrical activity, vascular tone, plaque stabilization and blood pressure.

Based on these findings, and because the body does not produce its own essential fatty acids, the authors recommend that healthy individuals consume 500 mg daily of omega-3 fish oil containing EPA and DHA, and people with known heart disease or heart failure aim for at least 800 to 1,000 mg daily.

“There are clear health and heart benefits associated with increasing one’s intake of foods that are rich in Omega-3s, including oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout, herring, and oysters” said Dr. Lavie.

Authors say further studies are needed to investigate and determine optimal dosages, as well as the ratio of DHA to EPA for maximal heart protection in patients.

Source: American College of Cardiology

Why fish oil helps with arthritis and inflammatory disorders? November 21, 2009 No Comments


Joint Inflammation

Joint Inflammation

Most scientists now agree that fish oil benefits various inflammatory conditions like arthritis, heart disease etc. However, the mechanism of how fish oil benefits these conditions has been a mystery. Now, in a joint study between British and American scientists that recently was published in the journal Nature, there are clues to how fish oil helps arthritis patients in particular.

The answer seems to lie in that the body converts DHA, a key omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils into Resolvin D2, a chemical which has been show to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Professor Mauro Perretti, from Queen Mary, University of London, who led the UK team, said: “We have known for some time that fish oils can help with conditions like arthritis which are linked to inflammation. What we’ve shown here is how the body processes a particular ingredient of fish oils into resolvin D2.”

“We’ve also looked in detail at this chemical, determining at least some of the ways it relieves inflammation. It seems to be a very powerful chemical and a small amount can have a large effect.”

Quoting the authors, “This research is important because it explains at least one way in which fish oils can help in different types of arthritis. We can also work on this chemical and see if it can be used not only to treat or even prevent arthritis, but also as a possible treatment for a variety of other diseases associated with inflammation.”

Source: Nature 461, 1287-1291 (29 October 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08541; Received 18 August 2009; Accepted 21 September 2009