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Aqua Nor 2013: How Much Omega 3 is Required in Human/Fish Diets?

Lucy Towers
20 August 2013, at 1:00am

NORWAY - Omega 3 and omega 6 are both known to be important for fish and human health. However, the minimum amount needed in fish diets to give good health benefits is still undetermined, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor, from Aqua Nor 2013, Trondheim, Norway.

It is well known that the fatty acids from omega 3 and 6 in fish are good for human health said Bente Torstensen, NIFES, during her presentation at Aqua Nor 2013, but how much should humans actually eat?

In humans, omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are known to have an array of health benefits including protection against heart disease and dementia from eating around 0.25 grams per day.

Other less established research also suggests that omega 3 fatty acids can help prevent cancer and diabetes.

"Despite EPA and DHA being good for us, the recommended amount we eat varies on the type of diet we have and how healthy we are," said Ms Torstensen.

For healthy people, it is suggested that only 0.1 gram of any DHA is needed per day. For pregnant women the amount rises to 0.35-0.45 grams and for unhealthy people, the recommended daily intake is around 3 grams.

It is the amount of omega 3 in the body's cells which is important.

More omega 3 should also be eaten if a person has a high omega 6 diet. "The more omega 6 you eat, the more omega 3 you need to eat to compensate for it," said Ms Torstensen.

In fish, studies show that salmon and trout require around one per cent EPA and DHA in fresh water to sustain good growth.

Other research also shows that EPA and DHA in fish increase resistance to some health issues and stress.

Although it is known that EPA and DHA are necessary for optimal fish health, it is still unknown what the minimal requirement is.

A new report from NIFES and Nofima, released 1 July 2013,  looks in more depth into the amount of fatty acids in salmon feed.

To read the full report (in Norwegian) please click here.