Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are well recognized in humans and animals. The major source of DHA and EPA is from marine fish. Because of ever-increasing demand for marine fish by food and feed industries, the sustainability of marine fish becomes a concern. Dried microalgae Schizochytrium sp. is commercially available, contains high level of DHA, and is a sustainable source of DHA.
The objective of this study was to investigate the bioavailability of DHA in the dried microalgae in cats.
Thirty-two healthy domestic short and longhaired cats, aged 1–10 year old, were stratified into four groups based on sex, 8 cats per group with equal number of males and females. They were randomly assigned to a commercial low DHA dry cat food topped with the dried microalgae (DHAgold™ S17-B, DSM Nutritional Lipids, Columbia, MD, USA) at 0%, 0.7%, 2.11%, or 3.52% of the food . Cats were fed the test foods for 26 weeks based on their ME requirement. They were housed individually and had free access to tap water during the study. In week 26, blood samples were taken from the jugular vein with EDTA as anticoagulant for DHA measurement.
DHA concentration in the plasma and red blood cell was positively correlated with dietary dried microalgae concentration (r=0.659, p<0.01; r=0.821, p<0.01, respectively) in a dose response fashion.
In conclusion, DHA in DHAgold™ S17-B is bioavailable in cats.