Omega-3s: Despite knowing the benefits, as few as 1% of adults get enough
In spite of adequate knowledge about food sources and a belief that omega-3 fatty acids are important for health, very few adults have omega-3 blood levels in the range necessary to provide cardiovascular support.
A new cross-sectional study conducted in U.S. and German adults compared typical diet and knowledge about omega-3 fatty acids with the omega-3 index. The omega-3 index (O3-I) is a red blood cell-based biomarker associated with cardiovascular disease risk. Optimum status for minimizing risk is >8%, with 4-8% considered intermediate risk, and <4% being at high risk.
More than half of adults could correctly identify food sources of omega-3s and believed that omega-3s are beneficial for heart health. However, the average O3-I in the U.S. was 4.3% and in Germany 5.5%, and nearly 99% of adults were in the intermediate or high risk categories.
Of interest was the fact that about a third of the adults in the intermediate category believed their diet was adequate in omega-3s. But, O3-I concentrations didn’t significantly differ regardless of dietary perceptions.
This study shows that despite being knowledgeable about omega-3s and their importance for health, only about 1% of adults had omega-3 blood level concentrations in the range for cardiovascular disease protection.