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Lipids. 2014 Oct;49(10):1057-69. doi: 10.1007/s11745-014-3942-3. Epub 2014 Aug 23.

EPA and DHA status of South Asian and white Canadians living in the National Capital Region of Canada.

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Nutrition Research Division, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, 251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9, Canada.


To minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), most dietary guidelines have recommended consuming 500 mg/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or two servings of oily fish/week. The sum of percent EPA and DHA in red blood cell (RBC) total fatty acids-termed the omega-3 index-has been proposed as a biomarker for assessing the risk of death from CVD. The omega-3 indices of ≤4, >4 to <8 and ≥8 % have been proposed to be associated with high, intermediate and low CVD risks, respectively. In this study, we determined the EPA + DHA intake level and the omega-3 index of South Asian Canadians (SAC; n = 308) and white Canadians (WC; n = 341) age 20-79 years living in the National Capital Region of Canada. The mean EPA + DHA intake levels were 569 ± 571 mg/day for SAC and 684 ± 865 mg/day for WC and 46 % of SAC and 43 % of WC met the recommended EPA + DHA intake level of 500 mg/day. The mean omega-3 indices were 6.6 and 5.9 % for SAC and WC respectively. The suggested cardio-protective target level for the omega-3 index of ≥8 % was observed only in 19.8 % of SAC and in 9.4 % of WC subjects. The majority of the participants (74.4 % of SAC and 82.7 % of WC) were in the >4 to <8 % range. These results suggest that although study participants' dietary intake of EPA + DHA is adequate, this intake was not sufficient to provide an omega-3 index that is considered cardio-protective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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