Latest evidence on omega‐3 fatty acids and health

C.H.S. Ruxton (Nutrition Communications, Cupar, UK)
E. Derbyshire (Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Publication date: 17 July 2009



There is strong evidence that very long chain omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC3PUFA) are beneficial. The aim of this paper is to review the role of LC3PUFA in health and put this in context with habitual intakes and international recommendations.


A literature review was conducted to locate and summarise relevant published studies and reports.


There is good evidence that LC3PUFA help prevent cardiovascular disease, and may ameliorate inflammatory conditions and mental health issues, as well as supporting cognitive function throughout life. UK dietary surveys show that average fish intakes are well below the recommended two portions per week. Given that the majority of consumers do not eat oily fish, it is reasonable to consider the potential contribution of dietary supplements or fortified foods, although the latter must be sufficiently high in LC3PUFA to merit consideration.

Research limitations/implications

Information on LC3PUFA intakes in the UK is lacking. Future dietary surveys should remedy this and look at the relative contribution of different food groups, including supplements, to LC3PUFA intakes.


This paper gives a concise, up‐to‐date overview on LC3PUFA sources, intakes, recommendations and their impact upon health.



Ruxton, C. and Derbyshire, E. (2009), "Latest evidence on omega‐3 fatty acids and health", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 423-438.

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