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Farmed salmon consumption can help increase beneficial fatty acid in blood. (Photo: StockFile)

Farmed salmon, an important source of omega-3

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Friday, June 07, 2013, 04:40 (GMT + 9)

A team of scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that people who eat salmon produced in fish farms can increase the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids at levels that could help reduce the risk of heart disease.

There are two omega-3 fatty acids -- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) -- which are abundant in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.

The daily intake of 250 mg of EPA and DHA -- equivalent to 3 ounces (85 grams) of salmon produced in an aquaculture farm -- is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Researchers Susan Raatz and Matthew Picklo, from Grand Forks Centre for Human Nutrition Research, of the ARS in Grand Forks, North Dakota, studied the levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the salmon produced in fish farms and in those of wild salmon.

The experts tested a group of 19 healthy human volunteers who consumed three different sizes of Atlantic salmon portions produced in an aquaculture farm.

Each person consumed two weekly portions from one of three different sizes of salmon portions, for four weeks.

After a period of four to six weeks to eliminate the fatty acids in the blood, each volunteer ate a different size of salmon portion, with another period to clean the blood.

Later, each person consumed the third size of salmon portion.

The raw weight of the portions was 90 grams (about 3.2 ounces), 180 grams (about 6.3 ounces) and 270 grams (about 9.5 ounces).

As part of this study, the researchers took blood samples from volunteers to score their fatty acid levels and other indicators of heart disease risk at the beginning and at the end of each treatment.

The results showed that EPA levels in the blood were double after consuming the 6.3 ounce portions, and increased almost three times after the intake of the 9.5-ounce portions.

Furthermore, DHA levels increased almost 50 per cent, regardless the size of the salmon portion.

This study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

By Analia Murias


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