Challenges in estimating omega-3 fatty acid content of seafood from US nutrient databases: A salmon case study

Kristina Harris, Jennifer Fleming, Penny Kris-Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A major source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is fatty fish, i.e. salmon. Compelling evidence shows fish intake decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The American Heart Association recommends the public eat 2 servings (3.5. oz each) of fish (preferably fatty) per week to increase EPA. +. DHA intake and lower CVD risk. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 8. oz of a variety of seafood per week providing an average daily consumption of 250. mg EPA. +. DHA. " Fish-first" recommendations rely on accurate nutrient databases to estimate the amount of EPA. +. DHA in fish. Wild salmon vary in total fat and EPA. +. DHA content depending on location, season, water temperature, age, sex, and diet. The environment of farmed salmon is controlled, but the EPA. +. DHA content of the feed varies. US researchers primarily rely on the USDA Nutrient Database for food composition information, while consumers likely use commercial websites; however, websites often cite USDA values making the accuracy of the database paramount. Accounting for the inherent EPA. +. DHA variability in wild salmon and regulating the nutrient content of feed for farmed salmon can provide more stable estimates of EPA. +. DHA in fish, thereby improving the accuracy of nutrient databases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1173
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science


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