Dec. 5, 2018

The Facts about Eggs and Omega-3 Fats

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

Here at Burnbrae Farms, we often get questions about omega-3 fats and eggs. I hope with today’s blog posting that I will help you understand omega-3 fats, why they are important for health, and how eggs contribute as a source of this important nutrient.

Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat, and research shows they have some great health benefits. Scientists are studying links between adequate omega-3 fat intake and a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, age related macular degeneration and some types of cancer .

There are three main omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Most Canadians get enough ALA from foods, including flax, canola, chia, walnuts, soy and pumpkin seeds. ALA is an essential fat, which means we need to consume it from the diet because our body cannot produce it.

DHA and EPA are marine sources of omega-3, largely found in fish, seafood and algae. When hens are fed a special diet that’s rich in omega-3, they can produce DHA-rich eggs such as Naturegg Omega Plus and Omega 3 . DHA supports the normal physical development of the brain, eyes and nerves primarily in children under two years of age. Research suggests that higher DHA and EPA intakes may help protect heart health, reduce inflammation and contribute to optimal health throughout life.

Let’s talk numbers

So, how much omega-3 fats do you need each day? There are only established intake recommendations for ALA, not for DHA and EPA. That’s because ALA is deemed “essential,” while DHA and EPA can technically be made by the body in small amounts, so they are not essential. But, they are crucially important, so some researchers have suggested these as the right intake level (these are not part of the official Dietary Reference Intakes).

Adequate intakes for ALA are 1.1 g/day for women and 1.6/day for men. Various health organizations have released opinions on EPA and DHA intake, which vary from 0.25-0.5 g/day combined EPA and DHA.

Source of omega-3

You may notice that certain Burnbrae Farms products are a source of omega-3 fat, and we use this claim on our packaging. It’s an approved claim per the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and can be used on foods that contain 0.3 g (300 mg) or more of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids per reference amount and stated serving size. It does not specify if the omega-3 fat is from ALA or DHA. Burnbrae Farms offers the following products that are a source of omega-3 fats (a mix of ALA and DHA):

1 large egg (53 g)

DHA Omega-3: 75 mg

Total Omega 3: 400 mg

1 large egg (53 g)

DHA Omega-3: 75 mg

Total Omega 3: 400 mg

1 large egg (53 g)

DHA Omega-3: 125 mg

Total Omega 3: 400 mg

¼ cup (63 g)

DHA Omega-3: 125 mg

Total Omega 3: 400 mg

2 medium eggs (88 g)

DHA Omega-3: 150 mg

Total Omega 3: 600 mg

The average daily intake of EPA and DHA in Canada is 124 mg or less, which is half of the lower range of the accepted recommended intake. Fish is a great source of DHA and EPA, and eggs can contribute as well. For example, two Omega Plus eggs provide 250 mg of DHA + EPA which will help Canadians get what they need to nourish their bodies. Omega-3 eggs are also a great way for children to get more of these fats, especially for kids who don’t like eating fish.

So there you have it. Any other questions about omega-3 fats, let us know!

Margaret Hudson

President, Burnbrae Farms