Research by Pharmavite, the manufacturer of vitamins and nutritional supplements from Nature Made, has found that the vast majority of Americans are not getting adequate amounts of EPA, DPA, or DHA in their daily diet.
Omega-3 deficiency can affect heart health, eyesight, and inflammatory diseases. Some reports suggest mental health.
Growing research has shown that the food we eat affects our emotional feeling. Some people use mood improvement interventions to improve their mood.
The cross-sectional study published in BMJ Open analyzed U.S. population data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2012 – the most recent survey to provide this information – to determine reference ranges for serum (blood) biomarkers of circulating long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DPA and DHA.
Researchers looked at the proportion of the US population who had an omega-3 nutrient gap, with serum omega-3 concentrations below the recommendations of the US dietary guidelines and lower levels associated with reducing cardiovascular risk.
“Low serum levels confirm that omega-3 fatty acid intake is inadequate in most Americans, especially young children, and it shows that more work is needed to educate the public about the important roles played by EPA, and DPA Educate DHA in helping human health. “Said Susan Mitmesser, PhD, VP, Science & Technology, Pharmavite. “Healthy habits developed early in development inform and pave a healthy path later in life. Therefore, it is important that young children have access to foods rich in essential nutrients, including omega, in addition to sleep and physical activity -3 fatty acids. “
Additional important results from the study
- Despite extensive research pointing to the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, the regular dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids in the US population remains low through all stages of life. Low serum concentrations of EPA, DHA and the sum of all omega-3 fatty acids were observed across all life stages.
- Children 2 to 5 years of age, adult males, and Mexican-American / Hispanic and non-Hispanic black individuals were counted as having particularly low serum EPA and / or DHA levels based on life stages, gender, and demographic factors.
According to Pharmavite, supportive but inconclusive research suggests that consuming EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
Good mood food
There is also growing research suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids could play an even bigger role than previously thought in supporting other areas of human health, particularly with regards to supporting a healthy mood.
Earlier this year, a separate study by Pharmavite looked at the relationship between depression and the levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in the circulatory system (based on analysis by NHANES 2011-2012). Analysis of the data found that adults with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids were correlated with a lower risk of depression, and adults with a higher EPA were correlated with a lower risk of the effects of depression on daily life.
The mechanisms of action for the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on depression are not fully understood. One hypothesis is that omega-3 fatty acids easily migrate across the brain cell membrane and thus interact with mood-related molecules in the brain. They also have anti-inflammatory effects that can play a role in relieving depression.
According to Harvard Health, over 30 clinical studies have tested various omega-3 supplements in people with depression. Most studies have used omega-3s as add-on therapy for people taking prescription antidepressants with little or no benefit. Fewer studies have looked at omega-3 therapy alone.
While omega-3s hold promise as natural treatments for mood disorders, researchers note that more study is needed to make conclusive recommendations.
Source: BMJ Open
2021; 11: e043301. doi: 10.1136 / bmjopen-2020-043301
“Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acid Serum Concentrations across Life Stages in the US: An Analysis by NHANES 2011–2012”
Authors: R. Murphy et al.