Growing need to explore alternative omega-3 sources

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Long chain omega-3, Nutrition

Growing need to explore alternative omega-3 sources
Fish alone cannot meet the long chain omega-3 requirements of a growing world population and other dietary sources must be considered, a policy academic will warn at Global Summit on Nutrition, Health and Human Behaviour in Belgium this week.

The summit will take place on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 March in Bruges. It will address the core questions: What is an adequate supply of omega-3 and where should it come from? More details are available at www.omega3summit.org

Professor Dr Jack Winkler, director of the Nutrition Policy Unit at London Metropolitan University in the UK, is one of the speakers focusing on sustainability of omega-3.

He told NutraIngredients that there is a looming challenge in how to obtain a secure and regular supply of long chain omega-3 in sufficient quantities to meet the dietary requirements of a global population that is expected to each 9 billion by 2050.

“We are going to have to do it with more than just fish,”​ he said.

Prof Winkler will present a diagram and analysis of four sources: fish, plants, processed foods, and supplements.

Major deficiency

Prof Winkler believes that most people in most countries currently do not consume enough long chain omega-3, but it is a “fact of life that this is not yet accepted by the world”.

The normal focus is on micronutrient deficiency, such as iodine, iron, vitamin A, and increasingly on zinc. Macronutrient deficiencies, such as carbohydrates, fats and protein – and even less omega-3 – are rarely talked about.

The problem, he said, is that heart disease and mental capacity are complex, and as the precise role of omega-3 deficiency is not yet clear to people so it is overlooked.

“There is a big battle ahead,”​ he said. “We are still at the stage of persuading the world that omega-3 is a good thing”. ​On the other hand, he added, “we have to get practical about obtaining it.”

While advising people to simply eat more fish is clearly not appropriate due the stock sustainability issues, advice to eat less​ fish on sustainability grounds is the wrong way to go about it, and “a stupid response to sustainability issues instead of a considered response”.

Other speakers on sustainability of long chain omega-3 supplies at the Summit will be:

  • Paolo Bray, Friend of the Sea, Italy, on Shifting the Paradigm of the Seafood Industry and Doing Things Differently
  • Dr. Andrew Jackson, technical director, IFFO, UK, on Towards Sustainable Production of Fish Oil
  • Adam Ismail, executive director, GOED Global Organization for EPA and DHA, on Omega-3 Supply Options: Availability in Food Products and Supplements
  • Dr. Simeon Hill, British Antarctic Survey, on Sustainability of Antarctic Krill

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4 comments

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Omega 3 : omega 6 balance

Posted by Cherry,

Hemp oils have a healthy, dietary balanced source with additional minerals, vitamins and a complete selection of essential amino acids.

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Government to the rescue? Oh no!

Posted by John,

How did we get to this point of the un sustainability of fish stocks? Through government intervention. Now they are expected to solve a problem they created? It's laughable especially as public ownership of the fish stocks have proved to be a disaster. We would be better off allowing private control of food stocks. At least the individuals would have an incentive to sustain the fish. It seems that every politician involved, with a sufficient political donation will accept all manner of scientifically invalid opinion as truth.

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Aquaponics

Posted by Barbara,

the solution is aquaponics. grow your own fish in your backyard and use its waste to grow plants at the same time. no fish needs to be taken out of the sea!

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