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Therapeutics & Diagnostics 21-046

Urinary biomarkers to monitor omega-3 status

Representative image of EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids measured in the omega-3 index.

Tech ID



P. Britz-McKibbin
D. M. Mutch

Patent Status

US provisional filed

Stage of Research

Proof of concept available


Amy Hector
Business Development Manager


Having plenty of omega-3 fats in your diet is beneficial for your heart health, whereas having low levels of these fats is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). 40% of the adult Canadian population has omega-3 levels that would place them at risk of CVD [1]. The omega-3 index (O3I) corresponds to the amount of EPA and DHA (two important omega-3 fatty acids) in red blood cells. Currently, the only way to measure a person’s O3I is by taking a blood sample [2]. However, collecting a blood sample in a clinic can be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and it may take time for the clinic to process the blood samples and provide the results, which can delay medical interventions or necessary lifestyle changes.

Researchers at McMaster University and the University of Guelph have identified two urinary metabolites that reflect changes in the O3I. This non-invasive test will help individuals ascertain the levels of omega-3 fats in their body. Overall, this test will encourage individuals to self-monitor their own health and dietary habits.


  • Potential for mail in inexpensive testing service such as urine dried spots on blotting paper tests.
  • Potential for an over the counter, point of care self-administered test to monitor the O3I.


  • Accessible, portable, and non-invasive.
  • Daily testing not required.
  • Encourages patients to take actionable steps in their physical and dietary health.


  1. Langlois, K., & Ratnayake, W. M. (2015). Omega-3 Index of Canadian adults. Statistics Canada, 11.
  2. Harris, W. S., & Von Schacky, C. (2004). The Omega-3 Index: a new risk factor for death from coronary heart disease?. Preventive medicine, 39(1), 212–220.
  3. MacIntyre, B.C., et al. (2023). Urinary Metabolite Profiling to Non-Invasively Monitor the Omega-3 Index: An Exploratory Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial in Young Adults. Metabolites, 13(10), 1071.