A study published in Progress in Lipid Research mapped the Omega-3 Index of people globally.
The 2016 study looked at the Omega-3 Index, which is the combined percentage of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in red blood cell membranes, in adults around the world. The Omega-3 Index can be measured with a simple blood test using a highly standardized analytical laboratory methodology.
The results were compelling, leading researchers to conclude that:
“…low and very low bloods levels observed for most of the globe are associated with an increased risk in cardiovascular-related mortality… It is also highly likely that increased blood levels of EPA+DHA across the globe would reduce the risk of cognitive decline with normal aging…”
Omega-3 insufficiency is a global health concern
The issue of low omega-3s EPA & DHA in the diet doesn’t discriminate. It affects most developed nations globally. In fact, regions with low and very low omega-3 levels include North America, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia and China.
The map shows that many countries and regions have low or very low levels of the Omega-3 Index. Progress in Lipid Research 63 (2016) 132-152
Study Title: “Global survey of the omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in the blood stream of healthy adults”
Studies reporting blood levels of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), were systematically identified in order to create a global map identifying countries and regions with different blood levels. Included studies were those of healthy adults, published in 1980 or later. A total of 298 studies met all inclusion criteria. Studies reported fatty acids in various blood fractions including plasma total lipids (33%), plasma phospholipid (32%), erythrocytes (32%) and whole blood (3.0%). Fatty acid data from each blood fraction were converted to relative weight percentages (wt.%) and then assigned to one of four discrete ranges (high, moderate, low, very low) corresponding to wt.% EPA+DHA in erythrocyte equivalents.
Progress in Lipid Research, 63 (2016), 132-152. DOI: 10.106/j.plipres.2016.05.001.
Read the Full Study