Levels of some heavy metals in omega-3 food supplements.

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Omega-3 fatty acids also called essential fatty acids are known to have numerous benefits from pregnancy to old age. The presence of heavy metals in the fishes which are the main sources of the omega-3 acids however poses a serious health threat. Levels of six heavy metals consisting of four essential ones (Iron, Manganese, Zinc and Copper) and two toxic ones (Mercury and Cadmium) were determined in one hundred (100) samples consisting of ten (10) different brands of omega-3 food supplements available on the Ghanaian market using Cold Vapour Atomic Absorption Spectrometry for mercury and Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry for iron, manganese, cadmium, zinc and copper. The amount of the metals consumed daily in µg/g in each brand was calculated based on the mean concentrations of the metals. The calculated daily intake of mercury in µg/g ranged from 0.021 for Cardioace brand to 0.818 for Dr. Chris brand with Iron ranging from 6.844 µg/g for Artic Sea brand to 1845.756 µg/g for Joint Care. Manganese ranged from 0.835 µg/g for Alaska brand to 488.475 µg/g for Cardioace brand and Cadmium ranged from 0.531 µg/g for Deep Sea brand to 4.712 µg/g for Seven Seas brand. The calculated daily intake of Zinc ranged from 0.812 µg/g for High Sea brand to1816.380 µg/g for Cardioace brand whilst that of Copper ranged from 0.073 µg/g for Artic Sea brand to 732.825 µg/g for Cardioace brand. Except cardioace brand, which recorded zinc as the highest metal, iron was the highest metal recorded for all the omega-3 brands. Also except the Seven Seas, Artic Sea, and Alaska brands which had copper as the lowest metal, mercury was the lowest metal recorded for all the brands.The calculated daily intakes determined for the metals were below the daily intakes recommended by the Joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food supplements and vitamins showing that the omega-3 food supplements analysed in this study are not likely to pose any health risk due to metal level to the public through consumption for both the toxic metals and the essential metals determined.
A project report submitted to the Department of Chemistry in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry