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The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Composition and Cost Analysis of Fish Oil Supplements: Fishing for the Best Deals

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Title: The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Composition and Cost Analysis of Fish Oil Supplements: Fishing for the Best Deals
Creators: Press, Rachael
Advisor: Belury, Martha
Issue Date: 2011-06
Abstract: Introduction: The omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have many health benefits such as reducing risks of heart disease, cancer and depression. EPA and DHA are found in oily fish and are also available in dietary supplements. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 1,750 mg EPA and DHA/wk, or 250 mg/day, which can be reached by consuming 8 ounces of seafood/week. For many people, achieving this recommended amount of EPA and DHA through diet alone may be difficult unless supplements are also used. Though the health benefits of fish oil are relatively clear, the content, purity and price of EPA and DHA needed for the recommended dosage is highly confusing. Purpose: To compare the content and cost of omega-3 supplements in order to assist practitioners and consumers in making choices about purchasing an omega-3 supplement. Methods: Thirteen randomly sampled dietary omega-3 supplements available in retail stores were analyzed. Oils were extracted and prepared for analysis by gas chromatography. After quantifying the levels of numerous fatty acids including EPA and DHA, a cost analysis was performed for each supplement based on retailer’s list prices per unit (e.g., gram of oil), recommended dosage and composition. Results:Fish oil pills available for consumers varied greatly in content and price. The amount of DHA + EPA ranged from 10 mg/g to 894 mg/g EPA and DHA. The prices also varied from \$0.03 per pill, to \$1.23 per pill. USummary:U Results from these analyses should clarify confusion regarding content and price per recommended serving of fish oil supplements, while also enhancing the health and quality of life for the millions of Americans suffering from diseases that may be prevented with adequate dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Embargo: No embargo
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. Department of Human Nutrition Honors Theses; 2011
Keywords: omega-3
EPA
DHA
fish oil
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1811/48920
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