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Revista chilena de nutrición

On-line version ISSN 0717-7518


VALENZUELA B, Alfonso  and  VALENZUELA B, Rodrigo. Omega-3 fatty acids in nutrition, how to get them?. Rev. chil. nutr. [online]. 2014, vol.41, n.2, pp.205-211. ISSN 0717-7518.

The benefits derived from the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are strongly documented existing recommendations for their intake. Marine products, specifically fish, are the most obvious recommendation. However, the availability of this resource is at present increasingly limited. Marine oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also increasingly scarce and very expensive. Fish oil, which is highly susceptible to oxidation, can be protected by procedures of encapsulation, microencapsulation o nanoencapsulation, but the amount of omega-3 fatty acids provided by the last two technologies is very small, and capsules are not well tolerated by everyone. Marine algae and krill oil are another two alternatives for omega-3 availability and consumption. However, algae culture is expensive and krill oil is scarce and of high cost. The possibility to obtain residual phospholipids from fish meal is a technological alternative now under experimental investigation. The harvesting of terrestrial vegetables which produces fruits and/or seeds with a high content of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), the metabolic precursor of EPA and DHA, is a novel interesting alternative to provide omega-3 fatty acids. However, it is necessary to demonstrate how effective the metabolic bioconversion of ALA into EPA and DHA is before encouraging the harvest and production of these vegetables oils, this being a pending challenge. The present work critically reviews the alternatives at present available to incorporate omega-3 fatty acid in our diet.

Keywords : omega-3 fatty acids; availability of omega-3 fatty acids; procedures to obtain omega-3 fatty acids; new sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

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