The recommendations on the intake of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n
-3 LC-PUFA) vary from eating oily fish (“once to twice per week”) to consuming specified daily amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (“250–500 mg per day”). It is not known if there is a difference in the uptake/bioavailability between regular daily consumption of supplementsvs.
consuming fish once or twice per week. In this study, the bioavailability of a daily dose of n
-3 LC-PUFA (Constant treatment), representing supplements, vs.
a large weekly dose of n
-3 LC-PUFA (Spike treatment), representing consuming once or twice per week, was assessed. Six-week old healthy male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a Constant treatment, a Spike treatment or Control treatment (no n
-3 LC-PUFA), for six weeks. The whole body, tissues and faeces were analysed for fatty acid content. The results showed that the major metabolic fate of the n
-3 LC-PUFA (EPA+docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) + DHA) was towards catabolism (β-oxidation) accounting for over 70% of total dietary intake, whereas deposition accounted less than 25% of total dietary intake. It was found that significantly more n
-3 LC-PUFA were β-oxidised when originating from the Constant treatment (84% of dose), compared with the Spike treatment (75% of dose). Conversely, it was found that significantly more n
-3 LC-PUFA were deposited when originating from the Spike treatment (23% of dose), than from the Constant treatment (15% of dose). These unexpected findings show that a large dose of n
-3 LC-PUFA once per week is more effective in increasing whole body n
-3 LC-PUFA content in rats compared with a smaller dose delivered daily.