June 5, 2013
GRAND FORKS, N.D.Eating farm-raised salmon can increase the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) by 50% and help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Scientists at USDAs Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center evaluated a group of 19 healthy human volunteers who were provided three different portion sizes of farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The raw weights of the salmon portions fed to the volunteers were 90 grams (about 3.2 ounces), 180 grams (about 6.3 ounces), and 270 grams (about 9.5 ounces). Each volunteer was assigned to consume two weekly servings of one of the three portion sizes of salmon for a 4-week period. After a blood-clearing" break of four to six weeks, a different portion size was served, followed by another break, after which the third portion size was served, so that each volunteer had consumed all three portion sizes.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 8 ounces of seafood weekly, but at this time the IOM has not established a recommended dietary allowance for EPA or DHA.
Blood was collected from each of the 19 subjects to mark fatty acid levels and other heart disease risk indicators at the beginning and end of each treatment. Results showed EPA blood levels doubled after the volunteers consumed the 6.3-ounce portions and increased nearly threefold after they consumed the 9.5-ounce portions. Also, based on the blood indicators, DHA levels were elevated by about 50%, regardless of portion size.
We found that eating 6 ounces twice weekly was adequate when it comes to raising blood levels of EPA and DHA," the researchers said. We showed that consuming farm-raised salmon was an excellent way to increase omega-3 fatty acids in the blood to levels that corresponded to reduced heart disease risk."
In a separate study, the same researchers showed farm-raised Atlantic salmon maintains its healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids when baked to the proper temperature, and actually decreases the presence of fatty acid oxidation byproducts. Preparing the fish based on restaurant and safety guidelinesto a tender, but safe, 145º Fahrenheit rather than overcooking was a key factor.
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