Jagatheesan Manoharan - October 7, 2019

Utilization of fish oil and lecithin in pigs consuming a Western diet

Metabolic syndrome is defined by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. A Western-type diet, which is high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, can lead to the development of metabolic syndrome. Omega-3 fatty acids are purported to have beneficial effects on health, especially with the progression of inflammatory processes in metabolic syndrome. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but studies have shown that fish oil supplements alone are not as effective as a diet rich in fish. These findings suggest that other components of whole fish enhance the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids. The phospholipid component of whole fish (e.g. phosphatidylcholine) versus the triglyceride alone, as supplied by many fish oil supplements, may improve the efficiency at which the omega-3 fatty acids are utilized by the consumer. This study will investigate whether the addition of soy lecithin, as a source of phosphatidylcholine, to commercial fish oil supplements will enhance the bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids and how the increased bioavailability could impact the progression of metabolic syndrome. The study included 24 adult Yucatan miniature pigs (females, 6-8 months old) divided into three iso-caloric diet groups (Western diet, Western diet plus fish oil, and Western diet plus fish oil and lecithin). They were fed ad-libitum for four hours per day. Feed intake and blood metabolites were monitored for 3-5 months followed by surgery for implantation of intravenous catheters for in-vivo metabolic tests and a telemetry device for monitoring blood pressure. After completion of metabolic tests and telemetry the pigs underwent necropsy and tissue samples were collected for analyses. The outcomes of this study could help to identify the beneficial effects of lecithin in improving the utilization of omega-3s from fish oil.

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