Most of the health benefits derived from consuming fish oil originate from the long chain omega fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), according to many clinical research studies. Flaxseed, canola and soybean oils are typical non-animal sources that provide short chain omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) or omega-6 fatty acids in the form of linoleic acid (LA). All of the above are becoming increasingly familiar labels on dietary supplements and food and drink products across the globe. Retail value sales of food (including milk formula) and drink with added omega fatty acids reached US$30 billion in 2012, while sales of fish oils/omega fatty acids in supplement format reached US$1.8 billion, and interest is certainly not fading.Dietary supplements the clear leader in adult intake of omega fatty acids
The health benefits linked to omega fatty acids range from aiding children’s brain development to boosting the ageing brain’s health, heart health and even helping to relieve depression. At the moment, excluding milk formula from food and drink, dietary supplements are the clear leader with regard to adult intake. In fact, in four of the seven regions covered by Euromonitor International’s consumer health research, fish oil/omega fatty acid supplements ranked among the top three fastest growing types of supplements over 2007-2012. In Australia, where this is the second fastest growing type of supplement, consumers are embracing its benefits for cardiovascular and mental health. Companies such as Blackmores and Sanofi offer a wide array of fish oil options to people at different age stages. In Latin America, fish oils/omega fatty acids are also gaining importance. They have long been used as a paediatric supplement in many countries but are now being promoted as an “omega” supplement.