Inflammatory conditions likely to benefit from fish oil therapy are prevalent in older adults however acceptability in this group is uncertain. This study aimed to assess the palatability of a range of liquid fish oil concentrations, the frequency and extent of side effects, and to summarise any effects on adherence to fish oil therapy in older adults.

One hundred patients (>=60 years) completed a randomised, single-blind palatability study, conducted in two parts. In part one, 50 subjects, blinded to random sample order, consumed multiple liquid fish oil samples (2x10%, 40% and 100%). In part two, 50 subjects tasted one concentration, or 100% extra light olive oil (control). Pleasantness of taste was scored on a 5-point Likert scale. Side effects were recorded 24-hr post-tasting.

Results of part one showed that 9/50 participants reported increasingly unpleasant taste with increasing fish oil concentration. 14/50 reported unpleasant taste for 100% fish oil vs 7/50 for 10%. 14/50 reported side effects which would not affect compliance with therapy.

For part two, 1/12 reported unpleasant taste for 100% vs 0/13 for 10% fish oil or control. 4/50 reported side effects and 2/4 indicated these would prevent ongoing fish oil therapy.

The authors conclude that taste itself is not a deterrent to fish oil therapy. Furthermore, reported adverse effects may not be a true reaction to fish oil, or dissuade patients from compliance.

Liquid fish oil supplements are acceptable to older adults, therefore should be investigated as a therapy for geriatric conditions.

This study was conducted using Nordic Naturals ProEPA Xtra™/EPA Xtra™ or ProOmega™/Ultimate Omega™. The dose used was 9 caps/day or 15ml/day liquid fish oil, respectively.