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Conversion of ?-linolenic acid to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human adults

Conversion of ?-linolenic acid to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human adults
Conversion of ?-linolenic acid to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human adults
The principal biological role of ?-linolenic acid (?LNA; 18:3n-3) appears to be as a precursor for the synthesis of longer chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Increasing ?LNA intake for a period of weeks to months results in an increase in the proportion of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3) in plasma lipids, in erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets and in breast milk but there is no increase in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3), which may even decline in some pools at high ?LNA intakes. Stable isotope tracer studies indicate that conversion of ?LNA to EPA occurs but is limited in men and that further transformation to DHA is very low. The fractional conversion of ?LNA to the longer chain n-3 PUFA is greater in women which may be due to a regulatory effect of oestrogen. A lower proportion of ?LNA is used for ?-oxidation in women compared with men. Overall, ?LNA appears to be a limited source of longer chain n-3 PUFA in humans. Thus, adequate intakes of preformed long chain n-3 PUFA, in particular DHA, may be important for maintaining optimal tissue function. Capacity to up-regulate ?LNA conversion in women may be important for meeting the demands of the fetus and neonate for DHA.
n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, humans, ?-linolenic acid, metabolism
0926-5287
581-597
Burdge, Graham C.
09d60a07-8ca1-4351-9bf1-de6ffcfb2159
Calder, Philip C.
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6
Burdge, Graham C.
09d60a07-8ca1-4351-9bf1-de6ffcfb2159
Calder, Philip C.
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6

Burdge, Graham C. and Calder, Philip C. (2005) Conversion of ?-linolenic acid to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human adults. Reproduction, Nutrition, Development, 45 (5), 581-597. (doi:10.1051/rnd:2005047).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The principal biological role of ?-linolenic acid (?LNA; 18:3n-3) appears to be as a precursor for the synthesis of longer chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Increasing ?LNA intake for a period of weeks to months results in an increase in the proportion of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3) in plasma lipids, in erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets and in breast milk but there is no increase in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3), which may even decline in some pools at high ?LNA intakes. Stable isotope tracer studies indicate that conversion of ?LNA to EPA occurs but is limited in men and that further transformation to DHA is very low. The fractional conversion of ?LNA to the longer chain n-3 PUFA is greater in women which may be due to a regulatory effect of oestrogen. A lower proportion of ?LNA is used for ?-oxidation in women compared with men. Overall, ?LNA appears to be a limited source of longer chain n-3 PUFA in humans. Thus, adequate intakes of preformed long chain n-3 PUFA, in particular DHA, may be important for maintaining optimal tissue function. Capacity to up-regulate ?LNA conversion in women may be important for meeting the demands of the fetus and neonate for DHA.

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More information

Published date: 2005
Keywords: n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, humans, ?-linolenic acid, metabolism

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 25300
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/25300
ISSN: 0926-5287
PURE UUID: 6bb4d6f9-7761-47ba-901a-d6aca2aff12e
ORCID for Graham C. Burdge: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7665-2967

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Date deposited: 07 Apr 2006
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 02:01

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