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Lipids. 1999;34 Suppl:S297-301.

New products from the agri-food industry: the return of n-3 fatty acids into the food supply.

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The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, Washington, DC 20009, USA.


The meat from animals and fish in the wild, chicken eggs produced under complete natural conditions, and wild plants contain higher amounts of n-3 fatty acids compared to domesticated or cultivated ones. The composition of meats, fish, and eggs is dependent on animal feed. Fish-meal, flax, and n-3 from algae in animal feeds increase the n-3 fatty acid content of egg yolks and lead to the availability of n-3 fatty acid-enriched eggs in the marketplace. Research is ongoing for the production of n-3 fatty acid-enriched products from poultry, beef, lamb, pork, milk, bakery products, etc. In the case of n-3 fatty acid-enriched eggs, the egg under complete natural conditions (Greek or Ampelistra egg) can serve as a guide for proper composition. Otherwise, the amount of n-3 fatty acids is determined by the organoleptic properties of the products. It is essential in the process of returning the n-3 fatty acids into the food supply that the balance of n-6/n-3 fatty acids in the diet that existed during evolution is maintained. Clinical investigations confirm the importance of n-3 fatty acids for normal function during growth and development and in the modulation of chronic diseases. The availability of n-3 fatty acid-enriched products should lead to improvements in the food supply. Pregnant and lactating women and infants should benefit since their diet is deficient in n-3 fatty acids, especially for the vegetarians among them. Studies with n-3-enriched eggs lower cholesterol levels, platelet aggregation, and blood pressure. Since cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and autoimmune, allergic, and neurological disorders appear to respond to n-3 fatty acid supplementation, a diet balanced in n-3 and n-6 fatty acids consistent with the diet during human evolution should decrease or delay their manifestation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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