Incorporation of fish oil into food products provides a means of increasing n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly in populations where fish consumption remains low. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the bioavailability of n-3 PUFA in microencapsulated fish-oil-enriched foods compared with an equal amount of n-3 PUFAs contained in fish oil capsules.

Twenty-five healthy female volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups for the 4-week intervention: one group received 0.9 g of n-3 PUFA/day as fish oil capsule (capsule group), while the second group (food group) received an equal amount of n-3 PUFA/day from enriched foods. Baseline and post-intervention samples were analysed for platelet fatty acid composition.

There was no significant difference in the change in platelet arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) between the two groups following the intervention.

The results indicate that n-3 PUFA from microencapsulated fish-oil-enriched foods are as bioavailable as n-3 PUFA in a capsule. Fortification of foods with microencapsulated fish oil, therefore, offers an effective way of increasing n-3 PUFA intakes and status in line with current dietary recommendations.