Mussel consumption as a "food first" approach to improve omega-3 status

Alternative title Mussels as a dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids



Carboni S, Kaur G, Pryce A, McKee K, Desbois AP, Dick JR, Galloway SD & Hamilton DL (2019) Mussel consumption as a "food first" approach to improve omega-3 status [Mussels as a dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids]. Nutrients, 11 (6), Art. No.: 1381.

Numerous United Kingdom and European Union expert panels recommend that the general adult population consumes ~250mg of EPA+DHA per day through the consumption of 1 portion of oily fish per week. Of particular importance are the long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are only found in appreciable amounts in marine organisms. Increasing oily fish consumption conflicts with sustaining fisheries and so alternative dietary sources of EPA+DHA must be explored. Mussels are high in omega-3 PUFAs and are a good source of essential amino acids. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the impact of introducing mussels as a protein source in the lunchtime meal 3 times per week for 2 weeks on omega-3 status in free-living participants. Following an initial 2-week monitoring period, 12 participants (8 male, 4 female) attended the nutrition laboratory 3 times per week for two weeks. Each participant received a personalised lunch constituting one-third of their typical daily calorie consumption with ~20% of the calories supplied as cooked mussels. A portion of cooked mussels from each feeding occasion was tested for total omega-3 content. The mean ± SD mussel EPA+DHA content was 518.9 ± 155.7mg/100g cooked weight meaning that each participant received on average 709.2 ± 252.6mg of EPA+DHA per meal or 304.0 ± 108.2mg of EPA+DHA per day. Blood spot analysis revealed a significant increase in the omega-3 index (week 1 = 4.27 ± 0.81; week 4 = 5.07 ± 1.00) and whole blood EPA content during the study (%EPA week 1 = 0.70 ± 0.0.35; %EPA week4 = 0.98 ± 0.35). Consuming mussels 3 times per week for two weeks as the protein source in a personalised lunchtime meal is sufficient to moderately improve the omega-3 index and whole blood DHA+EPA content in young healthy adults.

mussels; Mytilus edulis; omega-3 fatty acids; omega-3 index; nutrition; n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs); eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); sustainability

Nutrients: Volume 11, Issue 6

Publication date30/06/2019
Publication date online19/06/2019
Date accepted by journal14/06/2019

People (4)


Dr Stefano Carboni
Dr Stefano Carboni

Aquatic Invertebrate Zoologist, Institute of Aquaculture

Dr Andrew Desbois
Dr Andrew Desbois

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Aquaculture

Mr James Dick
Mr James Dick

Technical Manager

Professor Stuart Galloway
Professor Stuart Galloway

Professor, Sport