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Keywords:

  • Food;
  • n-3 omega fatty acids;
  • nutrition;
  • public health and disease;
  • polyunsaturated fatty acid

Summary

The very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (C18–C22) and n-3 Omega PUFAs are apparently widely accepted as a part of modern nutrition because of their beneficial effects on metabolism. Most significantly, the reported protective effect of the n-3 omega fatty acids in relation to cardiovascular inflammatory diseases and cancer has led people to consider these fatty acids more beneficial than other dietary supplements. Unfortunately, there is a lack of studies relating to the physical performance increasing effect in sports diets, cholesterol-reducing effect in meat technology, effects on human serum profile, the application dose and the side effects with/without omega-6 PUFAs, which has left us with several crucial unanswered questions. We still do not know the correct dose of n-3 omega and the correct ratio of n-3 omega to n-6 omega or their possible contraindications when combined with drugs, other foods and herbal supplements. Another reported aspect of n-3 omega PUFAs is that they protect and even enhance the effect in medical treatment of important diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and cancer. These reports led to PUFAs becoming one of the most accepted and consumed food supplements. Despite this weight of evidence and the considerable current use, there is still a need for studies, which will determine whether the n-3 omega fatty acids are in fact important functional supplements with no adverse effects. This review will attempt to outline the current position of n-3 omega fatty acids in the field of clinical nutrition and healthcare and outline the studies needed to determine whether there are significant advantages in taking them as food supplement without any adverse effects.