Switch to organic milk could boost omega-3 daily intake
Recently GMWatch published an article about unexpected effects from long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as are being genetically engineered into oilseed crops like camelina and canola. The oils produced wing deformities in the cabbage white butterfly.
Naturally sourced omega-3 oils don’t pose a health risk to humans – in fact they are good for us. Fish oils and oils derived from algae are the major natural sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the human diet. Many people take supplements of these oils to boost their health status.
In the aquaculture industry, fish are fed fish oils to provide them with enough omega-3 fatty acids to keep them healthy.
The new GM crops are being promoted based on claims that they can provide a human health supplement and reduce pressure on wild fish stocks.
However, we’ve been reminded that for humans, there is another useful dietary source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids – organic dairy products.
A landmark paper published this year in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that organically produced milk has significantly higher concentrations of total omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic milk, including over 50% more of the nutritionally desirable long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
The impact isn’t huge, but it is significant. A switch to consuming organic milk could contribute to increasing long-chain omega-3 intake without adding to milk fat or calorie intake. The researchers estimated that consuming half a litre of conventional full fat milk (or equivalent dairy products) would supply 11% of the recommended daily intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and this would rise to 16% with organic milk.
Here’s a summary of the findings with a link to the open-access paper: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF/dairy/page.php?page=1
Soil Association briefing: https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/why-organic/its-nutritionally-different/organic-meat-dairy/