Direct determinations of the fatty acid composition of daily dietary intakes incorporating nutraceuticals and functional food strategies to increase n-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids.J Am Coll Nutr 2008; 27(5):538-46JA
North American diets are low in eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA). This investigation aims to assess the ability to increase EPA and DHA in the Canadian diet using traditional whole food, functional food or nutraceutical strategies.
A typical Canadian diet (TC) was compared to four diets enriched with EPA and DHA but with similar caloric and macronutrient composition: a nutraceutical fish oil capsule diet (FO), an EPA + DHA-enriched functional foods diet (ED), a traditional whole foods (fish) diet (TW) and a comprehensive diet combining fish with functional foods (FF) containing EPA + DHA and alpha-linolenic acid. Direct biochemical quantitations were performed for energy, protein, carbohydrate (proximate analysis) and fat (gas chromatography). Costs of each diet and EPA + DHA source were assessed.
The FO (1.03 +/- 0.01 g EPA + DHA), ED (0.59 +/- 0.02 g), TW (3.23 +/- 0.09 g) and FF (3.15 +/- 0.06 g) diets provided significantly higher amounts of EPA + DHA compared to the TC diet (0.08 +/- 0.01 g). Using the TC diet as a baseline, the daily cost increase for each revised diet was $0.53 (FO), $0.82 (TW), $0.93 (ED) and $1.62 (FF). The cost per gram of EPA + DHA was lowest for fish oil nutraceuticals ($0.53/g), followed by fish (approximately $1.05/g).
The EPA and DHA content of daily diets can be increased significantly and cost effectively using nutraceuticals, functional foods and whole foods. Several North American EPA + DHA recommendations for healthy individuals can be met using these strategies and American Heart Association recommendations for secondary coronary heart disease prevention can be met via traditional whole food, nutraceutical or combination approaches.