December 5, 2019, Sioux Falls, SD: OmegaQuant, the leader in omega-3 and fatty acid blood testing, has been notified by the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) that the organization has put together a formalized statement around the importance of omega-3 EPA and DHA blood testing in research studies.
Over the past several months, the ISSFAL Board has been engaged in drafting the latest in a line of ISSFAL Statements and Recommendations. Statement No. 6 has been approved by the required (75%) majority of the ISSFAL Board and is now available online prior to publication in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), the official journal of the society.
Here is a summary of the statement:
Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 LCPUFA) levels at baseline and post-intervention should be assessed and reported in future research to evaluate the efficacy of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation because — 1. there are numerous factors that affect n-3 LCPUFA levels in humans as described in the systematic literature review; 2. assessing intake of n-3 LCPUFA from the diet and/or supplements is not sufficient to accurately determine n-3 LCPUFA levels in humans; 3. some studies do not provide sufficient doses of n-3 LCPUFA to produce a significant impact on bloodstream/organ content and there is substantial variability in the uptake of n-3 LPCUFA into tissues between individuals.
The background to this statement is that it has been recognized for some time that many factors influence omega-3 status of individuals, according to Peter Clough, Honorary Secretary of ISSFAL. At the same time, studies featuring omega-3 supplementation have shown differing, sometimes conflicting results which may, at least in part be due to variations in subjects’ fatty acid status.
This latest ISSFAL Statement summarizes some of the factors that influence omega-3 levels in humans based on a recent systematic review by the same authors. It concludes with the recommendations that:
- In all research studies/trials subjects’ omega-3 status is actually measured
- The influence of this on outcome measures is investigated
- Published papers report full fatty acid profiles not just omega-3 data
“ISSFAL Statements and Recommendations are generally well respected for being independent, authoritative, and clear, and we hope this latest one will also encourage ‘best practice’ in the design and interpretation of studies and trials,” said ISSFAL’s Mr. Clough.
William S. Harris, PhD, a pioneer in omega-3 blood testing and co-inventor of the Omega-3 Index, is encouraged by this move from ISSFAL as it underlines the need for routine omega-3 blood testing not only in research, but also among health practitioners and individuals.
“Our ultimate goal from the very beginning was to substantiate the Omega-3 Index, so that it would eventually become the standard of care like a cholesterol test. I think we are closer than ever to achieving this with the support of ISSFAL’s new statement,” Dr. Harris commented. “In the meantime, we are fortunate enough to be in the position of not only offering Omega-3 Index testing to the worldwide research community, but also to healthcare practitioners and individuals. Everyone should have access to this safe, simple, convenient test, especially since it can be tied to several important health outcomes, including heart, brain, eye, and prenatal health.”