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Omega-3 Labeling & RDIs

Currently, there is no established recommended daily intake (RDI) for omega-3s in the United States. “This is unfortunate and we hope to see one in the future,” said Keri Marshall, MS, ND, and chief medical officer with Nordic Naturals. “Consumers look to RDIs as an effective tool for comparing between products. Europe has made more progress in this area as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeling reference intake values for both omega-3 and omega-6.”

In the absence of established RDIs for essential fatty acids, Nordic Naturals looks to international guidelines, position statements like the American Heart Association’s and nutritional science to understand the amount of essential fatty acids that are important for health maintenance, Marshall explained. Currently, Nordic Naturals meets the widely recognized 500 mg EPA+DHA recommended daily minimum in all its adult products.

Angelica Vrablic, PhD, manager of nutrition research with New Jersey-based Solgar. pointed out that the National Academy of Sciences, which is recognized as the highest scientific body in the U.S., recommends that men consume 1.6 grams and women consume 1.1 grams of omega-3s daily. “Consumers are looking for specific EFAs on the label, so it is important that supplements clearly state how much ALA, EPA and/or DHA is in one serving,” she said.

Another consideration is the advice of Brendan Brazier, the vegan, professional Ironman triathlete and best-selling author on plant-based nutrition. He is the formulator of Vega products, who advocates achieving a balance of omega-3 and 6 essential fats, rather than aiming to achieve a specific total daily intake of either, said Emma Cutfield, product education manager for Canadian-based Vega.

“Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil provides a balanced two-to-one ratio of 6 g of omega-6 to 3 g of omega-3, as well as 3 g of omega-9, to help users increase their intake of healthy poly and mono unsaturated fats on a plant-based diet,” Cutfield explained. “These are labeled clearly in the Supplement Facts panel by gram—recommended daily values for polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) have not been set by either the FDA or Health Canada.”

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