There is strong evidence that the intake of EPA and DHA reduces the risk of adverse cardiac events. Fish and fish oil capsules are not necessarily an ideal source of EPA and DHA for every individual.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of a convenience drink enriched with 500 mg EPA and DHA on the n-3 index, a biomarker of EPA and DHA status in an individual.

Of the 190 subjects with atherosclerotic disease screened between February and June 2009, 50 were recruited based on an n-3 index < 5 %. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a convenience drink supplemented either with n-3 fatty acids (n 40, 200 mg EPA and 300 mg DHA) or placebo (n 10, 1.1 g linoleic acid, C18 : 2n-6, from maize oil) daily for 8 weeks. The primary end point was a change in the n-3 index. Intention-to-treat analysis was done.

After 8 weeks of daily intake of 200 mg EPA+300 mg DHA, the mean n-3 index increased from 4.37 (sd 0.51) to 6.80 (sd 1.45) % (P < 0.001). Interindividual variability in response was high (CV of the Delta, cv = 0.21). The control group showed no change in the n-3 index.

The results showed that daily intake of a convenience drink supplemented with n-3 fatty acids leads to a significant increase of the n-3 index with high interindividual variability in response. Dose and preparation used were safe, well tolerated and highly palatable.