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Increased dietary alpha-linolenic acid has sex-specific effects upon eicosapentaenoic acid status in humans: re-examination of data from a randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel study

Increased dietary alpha-linolenic acid has sex-specific effects upon eicosapentaenoic acid status in humans: re-examination of data from a randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel study
Increased dietary alpha-linolenic acid has sex-specific effects upon eicosapentaenoic acid status in humans: re-examination of data from a randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel study
Background

There is a metabolic pathway by which mammals can convert the omega-3 (n-3) essential fatty acid ?-linolenic acid (ALA) into longer-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). As far as we know there are currently no studies that have specifically examined sex differences in the LC n-3 PUFA response to increased dietary ALA intake in humans, although acute studies with isotope-labelled ALA identified that women have a significantly greater capacity to synthesise EPA and DHA from ALA compared to men.

Findings

Available data from a placebo-controlled, randomised study were re-examined to identify whether there are sex differences in the LC n-3 PUFA response to increased dietary ALA intake in humans. There was a significant difference between sexes in the response to increased dietary ALA, with women having a significantly greater increase in the EPA content of plasma phospholipids (mean +2.0% of total fatty acids) after six months of an ALA-rich diet compared to men (mean +0.7%, P?=?0.039). Age and BMI were identified as predictors of response to dietary ALA among women.

Conclusions

Women show a greater increase in circulating EPA than men during increased dietary ALA consumption. Further understanding of individual variation in the response to dietary ALA could inform nutrition advice, with recommendations being specifically tailored according to habitual diet, sex, age and BMI.
?-linolenic acid, sex, eicosapentaenoic acid
1475-2891
1-5
Childs, Caroline
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Kew, S.
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Finnegan, Y.E.
c7829003-f0e9-44cb-b36d-6e39399eba8b
Minihane, A.M.
a9124733-1ef9-4cdd-965a-126ab13d9817
Leigh-Firbank, E.C.
886735fb-f0d2-4b49-8e4a-921183c2f9bf
Williams, C.M.
9e4a42ff-e3e9-4f40-9343-a3a1625c7bbd
Calder, P.C.
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6
Childs, Caroline
ea17ccc1-2eac-4f67-96c7-a0c4d9dfd9c5
Kew, S.
98c90951-4483-430c-a048-d5ed6eda3063
Finnegan, Y.E.
c7829003-f0e9-44cb-b36d-6e39399eba8b
Minihane, A.M.
a9124733-1ef9-4cdd-965a-126ab13d9817
Leigh-Firbank, E.C.
886735fb-f0d2-4b49-8e4a-921183c2f9bf
Williams, C.M.
9e4a42ff-e3e9-4f40-9343-a3a1625c7bbd
Calder, P.C.
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6

Childs, Caroline, Kew, S., Finnegan, Y.E., Minihane, A.M., Leigh-Firbank, E.C., Williams, C.M. and Calder, P.C. (2014) Increased dietary alpha-linolenic acid has sex-specific effects upon eicosapentaenoic acid status in humans: re-examination of data from a randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel study. Nutrition Journal, 13 (1), 1-5, [113]. (doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-113). (PMID:25496415)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background

There is a metabolic pathway by which mammals can convert the omega-3 (n-3) essential fatty acid ?-linolenic acid (ALA) into longer-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). As far as we know there are currently no studies that have specifically examined sex differences in the LC n-3 PUFA response to increased dietary ALA intake in humans, although acute studies with isotope-labelled ALA identified that women have a significantly greater capacity to synthesise EPA and DHA from ALA compared to men.

Findings

Available data from a placebo-controlled, randomised study were re-examined to identify whether there are sex differences in the LC n-3 PUFA response to increased dietary ALA intake in humans. There was a significant difference between sexes in the response to increased dietary ALA, with women having a significantly greater increase in the EPA content of plasma phospholipids (mean +2.0% of total fatty acids) after six months of an ALA-rich diet compared to men (mean +0.7%, P?=?0.039). Age and BMI were identified as predictors of response to dietary ALA among women.

Conclusions

Women show a greater increase in circulating EPA than men during increased dietary ALA consumption. Further understanding of individual variation in the response to dietary ALA could inform nutrition advice, with recommendations being specifically tailored according to habitual diet, sex, age and BMI.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 December 2014
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 December 2014
Published date: 11 December 2014
Keywords: ?-linolenic acid, sex, eicosapentaenoic acid
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine, Human Development & Health

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 373738
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/373738
ISSN: 1475-2891
PURE UUID: 75ce73bb-85bd-4e2a-9f03-633e70e06357
ORCID for Caroline Childs: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6832-224X
ORCID for P.C. Calder: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6038-710X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Jan 2015 10:38
Last modified: 11 Mar 2021 02:35

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Contributors

Author: Caroline Childs ORCID iD
Author: S. Kew
Author: Y.E. Finnegan
Author: A.M. Minihane
Author: E.C. Leigh-Firbank
Author: C.M. Williams
Author: P.C. Calder ORCID iD

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