Omega-3s: Could Genetically Modified Oil Seed Crops Replace Fish?

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Written by Yvette Brazier
Published: Thursday 21 January 2016

Instead of using fish oil as a primary source of omega-3s, we could be using oil from genetically modified oil seed crops, says research published in The Journal of Nutrition.

The novel oil, “Camelina,” is part of an ongoing research program to examine the sources and sustainability of omega-3 fatty acids and their impact on health and risk of chronic disease.

Camelina oil was developed by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), as part of a drive toward sustainability.

The long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, is beneficial for cardiovascular and cognitive health and for fetal development in pregnancy.

Recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) suggest a minimum dietary intake of 500 mg of preformed EPA plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) a day. This is equivalent to 1-2 portions of oily fish a week. To protect against cardiovascular diseases (CVD), a dose of 1 g is required, or 2.4 g as a therapy for lowering triglycerides (TG).

However, to provide enough for everyone, 1.3 million metric tons of EPA would have to be produced each year.

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