Food and Behaviour Research

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Dietary reference intakes for DHA and EPA

Kris-Etherton PM, Grieger JA, Etherton TD. (2009) Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 81(2-3): 99-104. Epub 2009 Jun 13. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here

Abstract:

Various organizations worldwide have made dietary recommendations for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and fish intake that are primarily for coronary disease risk reduction and triglyceride (TG) lowering.

Recommendations also have been made for DHA intake for pregnant women, infants, and vegetarians/vegans.

A Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), specifically, an Adequate Intake (AI), has been set for alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of The National Academies. This amount is based on an intake that supports normal growth and neural development and results in no nutrient deficiency.

Although there is no DRI for EPA and DHA, the National Academies have recommended that approximately 10% of the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for ALA can be consumed as EPA and/or DHA. This recommendation represents current mean intake for EPA and DHA in the United States ( approximately 100mg/day), which is much lower than what many groups worldwide are currently recommending.

Global recommendations for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids underscore the pressing need to establish DRIs for DHA and EPA because DRIs are recognized as the "official" standard by which federal agencies issue dietary guidance or policy directives for the health and well-being of individuals in the United States and Canada.

Because of the many health benefits of DHA and EPA, it is important and timely that the National Academies establish DRIs for the individual long-chain (20 carbons or greater) omega-3 fatty acids.