Daily supplemental intakes of 5g of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids raise no safety concerns for adults, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded.
The Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA Panel) delivered its scientific opinion after reviewing the data on the possible adverse health effects caused by excessive intake of these omega-3 fatty acids.
EFSA has carried out a number of scientific assessments of health claims related to the benefits of n-3 LCPUFA intake. The NDA Panel has concluded that intakes of EPA and DHA of between 2-4g a day are needed to reach claimed effects such as the maintenance of blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and intakes of 250mg a day are sufficient for the maintenance of normal cardiac function.
After concerns were raised by several Member States regarding possible adverse effects associated with excessive consumption of n-3 LCPUFA, the European Commission asked EFSA for scientific advice on safe intake levels and to investigate setting a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for these substances.
The panel concluded that the available data were not sufficient to establish a UL for n-3 LCPUFA – DHA, EPA, DPA, individually or combined – for any population group.
However, the panel notes that at intake levels obtained from foods, n-3 LCPUFA has not been associated with adverse effects in healthy adults and children. It concludes that supplemental intakes of EPA and DHA combined at doses up to 5g a day do not raise safety concerns for adults.
Specifically, the experts say that supplemental intakes of EPA and DHA of up to 5g a day do not increase the risk of reported adverse effects such as bleeding episodes, impaired regulation of glucose levels or impaired immune function.