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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Herring oil intake results in increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids in erythrocytes in an urban population in the Czech Republic

Stankova, Barbora; Tvrzicka, Eva; Bayerova, Hana; Bryhn, Andreas; Bryhn, Morten


Introduction: The prevalence of cardiovascular diseases is relatively high in Central European countries, which may be caused by unhealthy dietary habits and cigarette smoking. The traditional Czech diet is low in seafood – a food reported to offer some reduction of risk for myocardial infarct and stroke. The European Health Authority recommends regular intake of fish or food supplements providing at least 250 mg of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily. Material and methods: The present study included 100 subjects from Prague not eating fish. They were given herring fish oil capsules providing aproximately the recommended dose of EPA + DHA for 6 months. Omega-3 and other fatty acids were analysed from red blood cells (RBC) before and after study completion. Study parameters were omega-3 index, EPA + DHA, and the atherogenic index comprising saturated fatty acids divided by unsaturated fatty acids. Results: Mean omega-3 index at study entry was 5.1% (p < 0.01) increasing to 10.7%, while mean EPA + DHA increased by 112% (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Capsules of herring oil containing 250  mg EPA + DHA daily increased RBC content of omega-3 fatty acids, increasing the omega-3 index to low or intermediate risk values in 83% of the subjects studied. In populations with low access to or no tradition of eating fish, herring oil capsules providing the EU recommended dose of omega-3 fatty acids might reduce cardiovascular risk as indicated by the surrogate parameter omega-3 index.


fish oil; Atlantic herring; eicosapentaenoic acid; docosahexaenoic acid; omega-3 index; inflammatory index; atherogenic index

Published in

Archives of Medical Sciences. Civilization Diseases
2018, volume: 1, number: 3, pages: e3-e9

Authors' information

Stankova, Barbora
Charles University
Tvrzicka, Eva
Charles University
Bayerova, Hana
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Bryhn, Morten

UKÄ Subject classification

Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems

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