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[alpha]-Linolenic acid metabolism in men and women: nutritional and biological implications

[alpha]-Linolenic acid metabolism in men and women: nutritional and biological implications
[alpha]-Linolenic acid metabolism in men and women: nutritional and biological implications
Purpose of review: This review critically evaluates current knowledge of [alpha]-linolenic acid metabolism in adult humans based on the findings of studies using stable isotope tracers and on increased dietary [alpha]-linolenic acid intake. The relative roles of [alpha]-linolenic acid and of longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell structure and function are discussed together with an overview of the major metabolic fates of [alpha]-linolenic acid. The extent of partitioning towards [beta]-oxidation and carbon recycling in humans is described. The use and limitations of stable isotope tracers to estimate [alpha]-linolenic acid desaturation and elongation are discussed. A consensus view of the extent of [alpha]-linolenic acid conversion to longer-chain fatty acids in humans is presented. The extent to which increasing dietary [alpha]-linolenic acid intake alters the concentrations of longer-chain n-3 fatty acids is described. The biological and nutritional implications of these findings are discussed.
Recent findings: Conversion of [alpha]-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid is limited in men and further transformation to docosahexaenoic acid is very low. A lower proportion of [alpha]-linolenic acid is used as a substrate for [beta]-oxidation in women compared with men, while the fractional conversion to longer-chain fatty acids is greater, possibly due to the regulatory effects of oestrogen.
Summary: Overall, [alpha]-linolenic acid appears to be a limited source of longer-chain n-3 fatty acids in man and so adequate intakes of preformed n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid, may be important for maintaining optimal tissue function. Capacity to upregulate [alpha]-linolenic acid transformation in women may be important for meeting the demands of the fetus and neonate for docosahexaenoic acid.
137-144
Burdge, Graham
09d60a07-8ca1-4351-9bf1-de6ffcfb2159
Burdge, Graham
09d60a07-8ca1-4351-9bf1-de6ffcfb2159

Burdge, Graham (2004) [alpha]-Linolenic acid metabolism in men and women: nutritional and biological implications. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 7 (2), 137-144.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose of review: This review critically evaluates current knowledge of [alpha]-linolenic acid metabolism in adult humans based on the findings of studies using stable isotope tracers and on increased dietary [alpha]-linolenic acid intake. The relative roles of [alpha]-linolenic acid and of longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell structure and function are discussed together with an overview of the major metabolic fates of [alpha]-linolenic acid. The extent of partitioning towards [beta]-oxidation and carbon recycling in humans is described. The use and limitations of stable isotope tracers to estimate [alpha]-linolenic acid desaturation and elongation are discussed. A consensus view of the extent of [alpha]-linolenic acid conversion to longer-chain fatty acids in humans is presented. The extent to which increasing dietary [alpha]-linolenic acid intake alters the concentrations of longer-chain n-3 fatty acids is described. The biological and nutritional implications of these findings are discussed.
Recent findings: Conversion of [alpha]-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid is limited in men and further transformation to docosahexaenoic acid is very low. A lower proportion of [alpha]-linolenic acid is used as a substrate for [beta]-oxidation in women compared with men, while the fractional conversion to longer-chain fatty acids is greater, possibly due to the regulatory effects of oestrogen.
Summary: Overall, [alpha]-linolenic acid appears to be a limited source of longer-chain n-3 fatty acids in man and so adequate intakes of preformed n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid, may be important for maintaining optimal tissue function. Capacity to upregulate [alpha]-linolenic acid transformation in women may be important for meeting the demands of the fetus and neonate for docosahexaenoic acid.

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Published date: 2004

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 25293
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/25293
PURE UUID: b82cbf77-c755-4f32-a53f-61f6ad8b881f
ORCID for Graham Burdge: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7665-2967

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Apr 2006
Last modified: 07 Nov 2018 01:36

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