A low Omega-3 Index (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in erythrocytes) is associated with cardiac, cerebral, and other health issues. Intake of EPA and DHA, but not of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), increases the Omega-3 Index. We investigated bioavailability, safety, palatability and tolerability of EPA and DHA in a novel source: a variety of sausages. We screened 96 healthy volunteers, and recruited 44 with an Omega-3 Index <5%. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a variety of sausages enriched with approximately 250 mg EPA and DHA per 80 g (n
= 22) daily for 8 weeks, or matching placebo sausages (n
= 22). All sausages contained approximately 250 mg ALA/80 g. In the verum group, the mean Omega-3 Index increased from 4.18 ± 0.54 to 5.72 ± 0.66% (p
< 0.001), while it remained unchanged in the placebo group. While ALA levels increased only in the placebo group, DPA levels increased in both groups. Inter-individual variability in the response was large. The mean increase of the Omega-3 Index per intake of EPA and DHA we observed was higher than for other sources previously studied, indicating superior bioavailability. As increasing production of EPA and DHA is difficult, improvements of bioavailability can facilitate reaching the target range for the Omega-3 Index (8–11%).
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