Researchers from Victoria University, one of Australia's largest universities have found that oyster gonads are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers studied 8 Sydney rock oysters, concentrating on the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the gills, muscles and gonads.
The findings will be presented this week at the International Congress of Clinical Nutrition conference in Brisbane, Australia.
"The gonads of oysters is the large creamy part which is eaten together with the muscles and gills of the oyster," Dr Xiao Su, lead researcher told ABC Science Online.
"We found the gonads have very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids."
These new findings may have major implications for the struggling oyster harvesting industry in Australia.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the risk for sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality in patients with known coronary heart disease. Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, and fish oil are rich sources of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Flaxseed, canola oil, and walnuts also are good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition to being antiarrhythmic, the omega-3 fatty acids are antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory. In contrast, omega-6 fatty acids, which are present in most seeds, vegetable oils, and meat, are prothrombotic and proinflammatory. Omega-3 fatty acids also are used to treat hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis.
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