By Peter Stevenson
OMEGA-6 fatty acids are more prevalent in farmed fish than in wild fish, a State Laboratory study comparing the two types of fish has shown.
The study also proved that fish and farmed fish in and around Cyprus are both rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which according to research play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development.
A total of 79 samples were taken from Cypriot fish farms (which made up 80 per cent of fish tested) including bream, bass and trout and from Cyprus’ sea area (20 per cent) including red mullet, whitebait and snappers and were compared to see if there was any significant difference.
All fish samples were analysed for 25 different parameters to determine macronutrients like moisture, protein, fat, ash, carbohydrates, and lipids (e.g. saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), and micronutrients, such as minerals like potassium, sodium and phosphorus.
The comparison showed that fat content is higher in farmed fish, and that cholesterol and Omega-3 fatty acids are roughly in the same range for both types of fish. It also showed that content of Omega-6 fatty acids are higher in farmed fish although both types of fish are within the “beneficial to health” ratio of 0.2-1.5 in accordance to relevant findings.
Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acids of approximately 1:1 whereas in Western diets today the ratio is around 15:1
Excessive amounts of Omega-6 can cause cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
In order to promote healthy eating the State Laboratory carried out the research, which began in 2011, taking fish from the region and from farms.
The State Laboratory said the composition of fatty acids in wild fish is unique and characterised by low levels of Omega-6 and high levels of Omega-3.