Omega-3 Recommendations from the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada.

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Reference:

Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Dietary Fatty Acids

American Dietetic Association. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 107(9): 1599-1611, (2007).

American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada (Authors: P.M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD (Penn State Univ. and S. Innis (PhD, RDN (Univ. British Columbia)

Summary:

Since registered dieticians in North America play a key role in current Canadian dietary recommendations on fat and fatty acids to support healthy dietary parameters for different population groups, this position paper provides an evidence-based rationale for the present recommended intakes for omega-3 fatty acids.

The position paper indicates that the preferred recommended sources of nutrition for infants under 6 months of age is human milk which contains the omega-3 fatty acids as LNA (alpha-linolenic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in different amounts depending on the geographical region and the diets consumed (fatty acid amounts and types) during lactation. It was also recommended that those infants who are not being breast fed should be provided a formula containing DHA, and also ARA (arachidonic acid omega-6), for at least the first year of corrective age. The recommended intakes for omega-3 fatty acid as LNA range from 0.6% to 1.2% of energy (1.3 to 2.7 g/day). In addition, the position paper recommended that the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, namely DHA + EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), should provide a sum total of 500 mg per day for overall health.

Dr. Holub's Comments:

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) jointly with the Dieticians of Canada (DC) are to be commended for position paper acknowledging the health importance of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids as DHA/EPA in addition to the shorter-chain omega-3 fatty acids (primarily plant-based) as LNA. Since most of the DHA/EPA currently consumed in the typical North American diet is derived from fish (consumed with a frequency of one serving per 8-12 days on average), it is not surprising that the current intakes of DHA/EPA (combined) for the average adult (ranging from 120-150 mg/day) are well below the much higher target intakes of 500 mg/day recommended by the joint dietetic organizations.