Intake Recommendations Across the Lifecycle for EPA + DHA5 Jun 2012
To date, more peer-reviewed published clinical studies have investigated the benefits of the long-chain omega-3s EPA & DHA than any other nutraceutical ingredient. With more than 22,000 peer-reviewed publications, covering research across the life cycle (pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adulthood, and aging) and representing numerous conditions (e.g. cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, diabetes, neurodevelopment, inflammation, maternal […]
To date, more peer-reviewed published clinical studies have investigated the benefits of the long-chain omega-3s EPA & DHA than any other nutraceutical ingredient. With more than 22,000 peer-reviewed publications, covering research across the life cycle (pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adulthood, and aging) and representing numerous conditions (e.g. cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, diabetes, neurodevelopment, inflammation, maternal health, respiratory diseases, surgery/trauma, etc…), there is no sign of a slow-down. As much as we know about the benefits of EPA and DHA for human health, there’s even more that is not known. We are just beginning to understand their potential value.
As the evidence in support of EPA & DHA has grown, so too have the global recommendations from numerous authoritative bodies and expert scientific organizations. Such recommendations have been made for different population groups across the lifecycle, as shown here:
- Pregnancy and lactation: range = 100-1900 mg/day
- Infants: range = 40 mg DHA/day – 900 mg O3/day
- Children: range = 40-1500 mg/day
- Adolescents: range = 70-2500 mg/day
- Adults: range = 90-2400 mg/day
The only life stage not well-represented for intake recommendations is the senior population, but it’s only a matter of time before research results translate into intake recommendations. In fact, it’s not unrealistic to imagine that someday there may be a recommendation associated with risk reduction for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), a disease typically diagnosed in seniors.
In AD, brain cells that process, store and retrieve information degenerate and die due to accumulation of plaque made up of protein fragments called beta-amyloid. Some scientific studies suggest that the toxic effects of beta-amyloid occur even before the formation of plaques. If true, blocking the formation of beta-amyloid could prevent AD. Recently, scientists found that higher dietary EPA+DHA intake was associated with lower plasma beta-amyloid protein levels, suggesting that the potential beneficial effects of O-3 intake on AD may be explained, in part, by a beta-amyloid-related mechanism. Of course, it’s necessary to determine to what extent, if any, plasma beta-amyloid proteins reflect amyloid levels in the brain. Clearly a logical next step would be to test EPA+DHA in high risk individuals to determine if formation of beta-amyloid is blocked. Should this pan out, an intake recommendation would likely follow.
Intake recommendations exist to raise awareness of a deficiency and to encourage consumption. Of the potential benefits associated with the O-3s, the evidence supporting a cardiovascular benefit is considered by many to be the most compelling. It’s interesting to look at this in light of what the economic impact of increased consumption might be. A group of Harvard University scientists found that low O-3intake accounts for 72,000-96,000 deaths per year in the United States. Furthermore, consulting firm Lewin Group estimated that daily intake of approximately 1800 mg of O-3s, among individuals over 65 years old, would result in a net savings over five years of $3.1 billion from reduced hospital expenditures (estimated number = 384,303) and physician charges resulting from a reduction in the occurrence of coronary heart disease. While this is just in the U.S., economic impact assessments have been conducted for other geographies. For example, in Australia, Deloitte has estimated a savings of $4.2 billion associated with increasing intakes of EPA and DHA for secondary coronary heart disease prevention. Clearly, the global economic impact of increasing O-3 intake is staggering.
Is the buzz around insect protein justified?
16 Jul 2018
Insects have been hyped as a potential alternative protein source – but do they really have the potential to enter the mainstream?Read more
What role do omega-3s play in sports nutrition?
10 Jul 2018
Omega-3 fatty acids have increasingly become part of athletes’ nutritional regime over the past few years but research supporting their role in sports nutrition is still in its early stages.Read more
Could nature-identical ingredients damage the natural sweeteners market?
4 Jul 2018
Natural sweeteners are a major target for companies looking to make nature-identical food ingredients, but if they are produced in a lab rather than extracted from a plant, will consumers accept them as natural?Read more
How does honey compare to sugar?
27 Jun 2018
Sugar use is down and honey use is up as manufacturers look for natural sweetening alternatives – but does honey live up to the hype?Read more
Fruit and vegetable powders add clean label nutrition, colour and flavour
25 Jun 2018
Fruit and vegetable powders are appearing in a range of foods and drinks to improve their flavour, colour, nutrition and texture, driven by the trend toward whole foods and consumer desire to boost fruit and vegetable consumption.Read more
What are the smartest botanical ingredients for brain health?
20 Jun 2018
As the population ages, botanical ingredients to maintain and improve cognitive health are on the rise. What are they, and what evidence is there to support their claims?Read more
Turning a spotlight on healthy fats and oils
19 Jun 2018
European food manufacturers have been turning to healthier oils and fats – but there is often a trade-off to be made, balancing their benefits in terms of flavour and health with how easy they are to work with.Read more
Beyond ingredients: Food processing as a tool for cleaner labels
12 Jun 2018
Ingredients come first when companies think about developing clean label foods and drinks, but certain processing technologies also should be considered part of the clean label toolbox.Read more
Plant-based eating boosts European walnut demand
12 Jun 2018
The current trend toward plant-based diets and wholesome, natural ingredients has led to increased European demand for walnuts, as consumers have become more aware of their health benefits.Read more
Europeans embrace a new wave of seaweed ingredients
6 Jun 2018
Seaweed ingredients are on the rise, set to appear in a wide range of new products in Europe in the coming years – far beyond the traditional sushi and miso soup.Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation