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article imageOmega-3 levels drop by half in farmed salmon

By Tim Sandle     Oct 7, 2016 in Environment
Stirling - A new report indicates that farmed salmon have considerably lower levels of omega-3s compared with wild salmon. Omega-3 oils are considered beneficial to many diets.
The new study shows that levels of omega-3 oils in farmed salmon have fallen significantly in the past five years. The study was carried out by researchers at Stirling University (U.K.) Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids useful to humans. These are: α-linolenic acid (ALA) (found in plant oils like walnuts and flaxseed oil), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (both commonly found in fish oils).
In response to the report, the salmon industry, the BBC reports, is considering new ways to arrest the decline. The reason appears to relate to the type of feed given to the farmed fish. Farmed salmon obtain their omega-3s from smaller oily fish such as anchovies. These are ground up and added to their feed. In recent years the proportion of oil fish added to the diet of salmon has decreased.
The author of the report, Professor Douglas Tocher, explains: "About five years ago, a portion of Atlantic salmon of 130 grams was able to deliver three-and-a-half grams of beneficial omega-3. This is actually our weekly recommended intake. Now, the level of omega-3 has halved." This means, the academic clarifies "instead of eating one portion of farmed salmon, we would need to eat two portions of farmed salmon."
However, it remains, according to Professor Tocher, those wishing to maximize omega-3s in their diet should continue to opt for salmon over other fish. "All the other fish are much lower than mid-Atlantic salmon", the professor states.
With the role of omega-3s in the diet, Digital Journal has recently featured two studies. In the first, working with mice, researchers showed that the effects of stroke triggered brain damage can be reduced following injections of omega-3 fatty acids. With the second report, a new study suggests that taking omega-3 fatty acids on a regular basis lowers the risk of having a heart attack. This is when the food supplements are taken over the longer term.
The primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish like salmon, herring, kippers, mackerel, pilchards, sardines and trout. Smaller quantities are found in green leafy vegetables including spinach and kale; soya beans; in addition, some oils can be infused with omega-3s. Interestingly, the only nuts rich in omega-3s are walnuts.
More about Omega3, Fish oil, Salmon, Farmed salmon, Salmon farming
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