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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(2):175-9.

Testing the acceptability of liquid fish oil in older adults.

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Nutrition and Dietetics, Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Flinders University GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia.


Inflammatory conditions likely to benefit from fish oil therapy are prevalent in older adults however acceptability in this group is uncertain. This study aimed to assess the palatability of a range of liquid fish oil concentrations, the frequency and extent of side effects, and to summarise any effects on adherence to fish oil therapy in older adults. One hundred patients (>=60 years) completed a randomised, single-blind palatability study, conducted in two parts. In part one, 50 subjects, blinded to random sample order, consumed multiple liquid fish oil samples (2x10%, 40% and 100%). In part two, 50 subjects tasted one concentration, or 100% extra light olive oil (control). Pleasantness of taste was scored on a 5-point Likert scale. Side effects were recorded 24-hr post-tasting. Results of part one showed that 9/50 participants reported increasingly unpleasant taste with increasing fish oil concentration. 14/50 reported unpleasant taste for 100% fish oil vs 7/50 for 10%. 14/50 reported side effects which would not affect compliance with therapy. For part two, 1/12 reported unpleasant taste for 100% vs 0/13 for 10% fish oil or control. 4/50 reported side effects and 2/4 indicated these would prevent ongoing fish oil therapy. The authors conclude that taste itself is not a deterrent to fish oil therapy. Furthermore, reported adverse effects may not be a true reaction to fish oil, or dissuade patients from compliance. Liquid fish oil supplements are acceptable to older adults, therefore should be investigated as a therapy for geriatric conditions.

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