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Omega-3 Summit Releases Consensus Statement

BRUGES, Belgium—Attendees of the Global Omega-3 Summit on Nutrition, Health and Human Behaviour (Omega3Summit.org), held here last week, signed a consensus document assembled by industry stakeholders and academics. The document urged industry members to devote more resources to lobbying and educating government, health care professionals and the general public to plug a “policy gap" that is contributing to a growing epidemic of health concerns related to omega-3 deficiency. The document stated:

  • Brain and heart disorders resulting from long-chain (LC) omega-3 (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) deficiency are the biggest challenges to the future of humanity. Associated costs are currently bankrupting health care systems and threatening wider economic instability worldwide.
  • Tissue concentrations of LC-omega-3 (relative to LC-omega-6) are the key variable for health—not dietary intakes. Biomarkers need to be standardized and used as public health targets; an omega-3 Index of 8-11, omega-3 in HUFA 50 percent would protect 98 percent of the population.
  • Dietary intake of >1,000 mg/d LC-omega-3 is needed if consuming a western-type diet, although this depends on dietary percentage of linoleic acid (LA) vs. alpha linolenic acid (ALA), and arachidonic acid (ARA). Most people fall far short of these basic needs.
  • Shorter-chain omega-3 (ALA, SDA and EPA) have poor conversion to DHA in humans.
  • To make tissue targets feasible, we urgently need to reduce LA and increase ALA in human and animal diets; and increase the availability of LC-omega-3 (especially DHA) for human consumption in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way.
  • Education of all stakeholders is key to achieving these changes.
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