Freshwater fish as a source of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and their application to human nutrition.
Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis) feed on phytoplankton, and phytoplankton, detritus and zooplankton, respectively. Large silver carp and bighead carp generally have a high lipid content. Due to the lipid content of their feed there is a characteristically high level of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in these fish. EPA and DHA in various parts of silver carp and bighead carp amount to 7-12% and 5-12%, respectively, of the total lipid content. Experiments with spontaneously hypertonic rats and a clinical test indicated a beneficial effect of silver carp oil in reducing blood pressure and blood triglyceride concentration. It was concluded that these fish species can be recommended as dietetic food as a prophylactic and for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.