Skip to main content

n-3 Fatty acid intake from marine food products among Quebecers: comparison to worldwide recommendations

  • Michel Lucas (a1) (a2), Geneviève Asselin (a1), Mélanie Plourde (a3), Stephen C Cunnane (a3), Éric Dewailly (a2) (a4) and Sylvie Dodin (a1) (a5)...

To quantify marine food product consumption and EPA + DHA intake among Quebecers, and to compare the results with the most recent recommendations.


Data were obtained from a representative cross-sectional telephone survey (June 2006). Intakes of marine food product species and EPA + DHA were estimated from a validated FFQ on the consumption of marine food products during the previous month. Prevalence of fish oil consumption in the last 6 months was also assessed.


Province of Quebec (Canada).


A representative sample (n 1001) of adults in the province of Quebec. Of these, eight were excluded from the present analysis (n 993).


Mean and median EPA + DHA intakes for all participants were estimated to be 291 mg/d (sem 11) and 207 mg/d, respectively. 85·0 % (95 % CI 82·7, 87·3) of Quebecers had an EPA + DHA intake lower than 500 mg/d, which is the amount internationally recommended for the prevention of CVD. Mean and median DHA intakes among women of childbearing age (n 128, 18–34 years) were estimated to be 169 mg/d (sem 17) and 126 mg/d, respectively. Of these women, 27·7 % had a daily intake >200 mg DHA and 15·9 % had an intake >300 mg DHA. We noted that 13 % of Quebecers take ≥1 capsule of fish oil/d.


Consumption of marine food products and EPA + DHA among Quebecers clearly appears to be lower than international recommendations. Since EPA + DHA confer health benefits and may reduce health costs, strategies to increase their consumption should be implemented to improve public health in Quebec.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      n-3 Fatty acid intake from marine food products among Quebecers: comparison to worldwide recommendations
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      n-3 Fatty acid intake from marine food products among Quebecers: comparison to worldwide recommendations
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      n-3 Fatty acid intake from marine food products among Quebecers: comparison to worldwide recommendations
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email
Hide All
1.Simopoulos AP (2006) Evolutionary aspects of diet, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio and genetic variation: nutritional implications for chronic diseases. Biomed Pharmacother 60, 502507.
2.Harris WS (2006) The omega-6/omega-3 ratio and cardiovascular disease risk: uses and abuses. Curr Atheroscler Rep 8, 453459.
3.Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS & Appel LJ (2002) AHA Scientific Statement. Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. Circulation 106, 27472757.
4.Calder PC (2006) n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. Am J Clin Nutr 83, 6 Suppl., 1505S1519S.
5.Plourde M & Cunnane S (2007) Extremely limited synthesis of long chain polyunsaturates in adults: implications for their dietary essentiality and use as supplements. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 32, 619634.
6.Lucas M, Asselin G, Mérette C, Poulin MJ & Dodin S (2008) Validation of an FFQ for evaluation of EPA and DHA intake. Public Health Nutr (Epublication ahead of print version).
7.Anderson CA & Appel LJ (2006) Dietary modification and CVD prevention: a matter of fat. JAMA 295, 693695.
8.Mosca L, Appel LJ, Benjamin EJ et al. (2004) Evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women. American Heart Association scientific statement. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 24, e29e50.
9.Wang C, Harris WS, Chung M, Lichtenstein AH, Balk EM, Kupelnick B, Jordan HS & Lau J (2006) n-3 fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr 84, 517.
10.Freeman MP, Hibbeln JR, Wisner KL et al. (2006) Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry. J Clin Psychiatry 67, 19541967.
11.Gebauer SK, Psota TL, Harris WS & Kris-Etherton PM (2006) n-3 fatty acid dietary recommendations and food sources to achieve essentiality and cardiovascular benefits. Am J Clin Nutr 83, 6 Suppl., 1526s1535s.
12.Makrides M (2008) Outcomes for mothers and their babies: do n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and seafoods make a difference? J Am Diet Assoc 108, 16221626.
13.Crawford MA (2000) Placental delivery of arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids: implications for the lipid nutrition of preterm infants. Am J Clin Nutr 71, 1 Suppl., 275s284s.
14.Innis SM (2003) Perinatal biochemistry and physiology of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. J Pediatr 143, 4 Suppl., 1s8s.
15.Cunnane SC, Francescutti V, Brenna JT & Crawford MA (2000) Breast-fed infants achieve a higher rate of brain and whole body docosahexaenoate accumulation than formula-fed infants not consuming dietary docosahexaenoate. Lipids 35, 105111.
16.Carlson SE (2009) Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation in pregnancy and lactation. Am J Clin Nutr 89, 678s684s.
17.Francois CA, Connor SL, Bolewicz LC & Connor WE (2003) Supplementing lactating women with flaxseed oil does not increase docosahexaenoic acid in their milk. Am J Clin Nutr 77, 226233.
18.Koletzko B, Cetin I & Thomas Brenna J (2007) Dietary fat intakes for pregnant and lactating women. Br J Nutr 98, 873877.
19.Simopoulos AP, Leaf A & Salem N Jr (2000) Workshop statement on the essentiality of and recommended dietary intakes for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 63, 119121.
20.Santé-Québec (1995) Les Québécoises et Québécois mangent-ils mieux? Rapport de l’enquête québécoise sur la nutrition, 1990 (Report of the Nutrition Survey among Quebecers, 1990). Montréal: Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux, Gouvernement du Québec.
21.Dewailly E, Blanchet C, Gingras S, Lemieux S & Holub BJ (2003) Fish consumption and blood lipids in three ethnic groups of Quebec (Canada). Lipids 38, 359365.
22.Kris-Etherton P, Taylor DS & Yu-Poth S (2000) Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr 71, Suppl. 1, 179s188s.
23.Singh SR & Levine MA (2006) Natural health product use in Canada: analysis of the National Population Health Survey. Can J Clin Pharmacol 13, e240e250.
24.Cardiovascular Review Group, Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (1994) Nutritional Aspects of Cardiovascular Disease. Report on Health and Social Subjects. London, UK: Department of Health.
25.Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2002) Dietary fats: total fat and fatty acids. In Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fats, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids (Macronutrients), pp. 422541. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; available at
26.Eurodiet (2000) Nutrition & diet for healthy lifestyles in Europe. (accessed September 2006).
27.Health Council of the Netherlands (2001) Dietary Reference Intakes: Energy, Proteins, Fats, and Digestible Carbohydrates. Report 19. The Hague: Health Council of the Netherlands.
28.Martin A (2001) Apports nutritionnels conseillés pour la population française, 3rd ed. Paris: Lavoisier.
29.National Health and Medical Research Council (2005) Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Including Recommended Dietary Intakes. Canberra: Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing, NHMRC, Ministry of Health; available at
30.World Health Organization (2003) Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. WHO Technical Report Series no. 916. Geneva: WHO; available at
31.UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2004) Advice on fish consumption: benefits & risks. (accessed September 2006).
32.Cunnane S, Drevon CA, Harris B, Sinclair A& Spector A (2004) Recommendations for intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids in healthy adults. International Society for Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) Subcommittee. (accessed September 2004).
33.American Dietetic Association (2007) Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: dietary fatty acids. J Am Diet Assoc 107, 15991611.
34. American Heart Association Nutrition Committee, Lichtenstein AH, Appel LJ, Brands M et al. (2006) Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation 114, 8296.
35.Simopoulos AP, Leaf A & Salem N Jr (1999) Essentiality of and recommended dietary intakes for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Ann Nutr Metab 43, 127130.
36.Simopoulos AP (1989) Summary of the NATO advanced research workshop on dietary omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids: biological effects and nutritional essentiality. J Nutr 119, 521528.
37.British Nutrition Foundation (1992) Unsaturated Fatty Acids. Nutritional and Physiological Significance. The Report of the British Nutrition Foundation’s Task Force. London: British Nutrition Foundation.
38.Van de Werf F, Ardissino D, Betriu A et al. (2003) Management of acute myocardial infarction in patients presenting with ST-segment elevation. The Task Force on the management of acute myocardial infarction of the European Society of Cardiology. Eur Heart J 24, 2866.
39.Health Canada (2005) Canadian Nutrient File. Health Canada. (accessed October 2006).
40.Mozaffarian D & Rimm EB (2006) Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA 296, 18851899.
41.Iso H, Kobayashi M, Ishihara J, Sasaki S, Okada K, Kita Y, Kokubo Y & Tsugane S (2006) Intake of fish and n-3 fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease among Japanese. The Japan Public Health Center-Based (JPHC) Study Cohort I. Circulation 113, 195202.
42.Innis SM & Elias SL (2003) Intakes of essential n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids among pregnant Canadian women. Am J Clin Nutr 77, 473478.
43.Denomme J, Stark KD & Holub BJ (2005) Directly quantitated dietary (n-3) fatty acid intakes of pregnant Canadian women are lower than current dietary recommendations. J Nutr 135, 206211.
44.Clandinin MT, Chappell JE, Leong S, Heim T, Swyer PR & Chance GW (1980) Intrauterine fatty acid accretion rates in human brain: implications for fatty acid requirements. Early Hum Dev 4, 121129.
45.Martinez M (1992) Tissue levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids during early human development. J Pediatr 120, s129s138.
46.Harris WS & Von Schacky C (2004) The Omega-3 Index: a new risk factor for death from coronary heart disease? Prev Med 39, 212220.
47.Harris WS, Sands SA, Windsor SL, Ali HA, Stevens TL, Magalski A, Porter CB & Borkon AM (2004) Omega-3 fatty acids in cardiac biopsies from heart transplantation patients. Correlation with erythrocytes and response to supplementation. Circulation 110, 16451649.
48.Kessler RC, Davis RB, Foster DF, Van Rompay MI, Walters EE, Wilkey SA, Kaptchuk TJ & Eisenberg DM (2001) Long-term trends in the use of complementary and alternative medical therapies in the United States. Ann Intern Med 135, 262268.
49.American Statistical Association (2004) What is a survey? ASA Series [F Scheuren, editor]. (accessed November 2006).
50.Johnson TP, Holbrook AL, Ik Cho Y & Bossarte RM (2006) Nonresponse error in injury-risk surveys. Am J Prev Med 31, 427436.
51.Keeter S, Miller C, Kohut A, Groves RM & Presser S (2000) Consequences of reducing nonresponse in a national telephone survey. Public Opin Q 64, 125148.
52.Curtin R, Presser S & Singer E (2000) The effects of response rate changes on the index of consumer sentiment. Public Opin Q 64, 413428.
53.Hox JP & De Leeuw ED (1994) A comparison of nonresponse in mail, telephone, and face-to-face surveys: applying multilevel modeling to meta-analysis. Qual Quant 28, 329344.
54.Burdge G (2004) Alpha-linolenic acid metabolism in men and women: nutritional and biological implications. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 7, 137144.
55.Cantwell MM (2000) Assessment of individual fatty acid intake. Proc Nutr Soc 59, 187191.
56.Blanchet C, Lucas M, Julien P, Morin R, Gingras S & Dewailly E (2005) Fatty acid composition of wild and farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Lipids 40, 529531.
57.Schmier JK, Rachman NJ & Halpern MT (2006) The cost-effectiveness of omega-3 supplements for prevention of secondary coronary events. Manag Care 15, 4350.
58.Lamotte M, Annemans L, Kawalec P & Zoellner Y (2006) A multi-country health economic evaluation of highly concentrated N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in secondary prevention after myocardial infarction. Pharmacoeconomics 24, 783795.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 81 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 99 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.