Sources of the very-long-chain unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 Mar; 10(2):123-8.CO
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
We assess the toxicological, environmental and economic aspects of sources of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 fatty acids).
Fish oils are the most common source of the very-long-chain n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, which have protective and beneficial effects on conditions such as cardiovascular, inflammatory, or neurological diseases. Fish oils can also be potential hazards for human health, because of external pollutants bio-accumulating in fish. Wild and farmed fish are generally both similar in n-3 fatty acid content but may vary in terms of potential toxins. Reports on aquaculture and fish oil production, and other sources of n-3 fatty acids, are reviewed to assess which may be more suitable economically and ecologically for higher fish oil production and availability.
Although today's fish oil production meets demand, it is likely that this will not be able to increase without adversely affecting the world's wild stock of fish. Neither wild nor farmed fish constitute a sustainable source of n-3 fatty acids for supplementation. Solutions may be found through the evolution of the current aquaculture system or the utilization of alternative manufacturing sources for increasing intakes of n-3 fatty acids.