Concept: Eicosapentaenoic acid
Over the last century, intakes of omega-6 (ω-6) fatty acids in Western diets have dramatically increased, while omega-3 (ω-3) intakes have fallen. Resulting ω-6/ω-3 intake ratios have risen to nutritionally undesirable levels, generally 10 to 15, compared to a possible optimal ratio near 2.3. We report results of the first large-scale, nationwide study of fatty acids in U.S. organic and conventional milk. Averaged over 12 months, organic milk contained 25% less ω-6 fatty acids and 62% more ω-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, yielding a 2.5-fold higher ω-6/ω-3 ratio in conventional compared to organic milk (5.77 vs. 2.28). All individual ω-3 fatty acid concentrations were higher in organic milk-α-linolenic acid (by 60%), eicosapentaenoic acid (32%), and docosapentaenoic acid (19%)-as was the concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (18%). We report mostly moderate regional and seasonal variability in milk fatty acid profiles. Hypothetical diets of adult women were modeled to assess milk fatty-acid-driven differences in overall dietary ω-6/ω-3 ratios. Diets varied according to three choices: high instead of moderate dairy consumption; organic vs. conventional dairy products; and reduced vs. typical consumption of ω-6 fatty acids. The three choices together would decrease the ω-6/ω-3 ratio among adult women by ∼80% of the total decrease needed to reach a target ratio of 2.3, with relative impact “switch to low ω-6 foods” > “switch to organic dairy products” ≈ “increase consumption of conventional dairy products.” Based on recommended servings of dairy products and seafoods, dairy products supply far more α-linolenic acid than seafoods, about one-third as much eicosapentaenoic acid, and slightly more docosapentaenoic acid, but negligible docosahexaenoic acid. We conclude that consumers have viable options to reduce average ω-6/ω-3 intake ratios, thereby reducing or eliminating probable risk factors for a wide range of developmental and chronic health problems.
Omega-3 fatty acids are dietary essentials, and the current low intakes in most modern developed countries are believed to contribute to a wide variety of physical and mental health problems. Evidence from clinical trials indicates that dietary supplementation with long-chain omega-3 may improve child behavior and learning, although most previous trials have involved children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Here we investigated whether such benefits might extend to the general child population.
BACKGROUND: Given that acne is a rare condition in societies with higher consumption of omega-3 (n-3) relative to omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids, supplementation with n-3 may suppress inflammatory cytokine production and thereby reduce acne severity. METHODS: 13 individuals with inflammatory acne were given three grams of fish oil containing 930 mg of EPA to their unchanged diet and existing acne remedies for 12 weeks. Acne was assessed using an overall severity grading scale, total inflammatory lesion counts, and colorimetry. FINDINGS: There was no significant change in acne grading and inflammatory counts at week 12 compared to baseline. However, there was a broad range of response to the intervention on an individual basis. The results showed that acne severity improved in 8 individuals, worsened in 4, and remained unchanged in 1. Interestingly, among the individuals who showed improvement, 7 were classified as having moderate to severe acne at baseline, while 3 of the 4 whose acne deteriorated were classified as having mild acne. CONCLUSION: There is some evidence that fish oil supplementation is associated with an improvement in overall acne severity, especially for individuals with moderate to severe acne. Divergent responses to fish oil in our pilot study indicates that dietary and supplemental lipids are worthy of further investigation in acne.
n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, namely docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and can ameliorate many of obesity-associated disorders. We hypothesised that the latter effect will be more pronounced when DHA/EPA is supplemented as phospholipids rather than as triglycerides.
BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to evaluate the mediating role of maternal early pregnancy plasma levels of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) in the association of interpregnancy interval (IPI) with birth weight and smallness for gestational age (SGA) at birth. METHODS: We analysed a subsample of the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) cohort, comprising 1,659 parous pregnant women recruited between January 2003 and March 2004. We used linear and logistic regression to evaluate the associations between fatty acid status, interpregnancy interval and pregnancy outcome. RESULTS: Low plasma phospholipids concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), and high concentrations of arachidonic acid (AA) during early pregnancy were associated with reduced birth weight and/or an increased risk of SGA. Short IPIs (< 6 months, with 18--23 months as a reference) were associated with a mean decrease of 207.6 g (SE: +/- 73.1) in birth weight (p = 0.005) and a twofold increased risk of SGA (OR: 2.05; CI: 0.93--4.51; p = 0.074). Adjustment for maternal fatty acid concentrations did not affect these results to any meaningful extent. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the observed association of maternal early pregnancy LCPUFA status with birth weight and SGA, our study provides no evidence for the existence of an important role of maternal EPA, DHA, DGLA or AA in the association of short interpregnancy intervals with birth weight and SGA.
BACKGROUND: Little evidence is available for the validity of dietary fish and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake derived from interviewer-administered questionnaires and plasma docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) concentration. METHODS: We estimated the correlation of DHA and EPA intake from both questionnaires and biochemical measurements. Ethnic Chinese adults with a mean (+/- SD) age of 59.8 (+/-12.8) years (n = 297) (47% women) who completed a 38-item semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire and provided a plasma sample were enrolled. Plasma fatty acids were analyzed by capillary gas chromatography. RESULTS: The Spearmen rank correlation coefficients between the intake of various types of fish and marine n-3 fatty acids as well as plasma DHA were significant, ranging from 0.20 to 0.33 (P < 0.001). In addition, dietary EPA, C22:5 n-3 and DHA were significantly correlated with the levels of marine n-3 fatty acids and DHA, with the Spearman rank correlation coefficients ranging from 0.26 to 0.35 (P < 0.001). Moreover, compared with those in the lowest fish intake quintile, participants in the highest quintile had a significantly higher DHA level (adjusted mean difference, 0.99 +/- 0.10%, test for trend, P < 0.001). Similar patterns between dietary DHA intake and plasma DHA levels were found. However, the association between dietary fish intake and plasma EPA was not significant (test for trend, P = 0.69). CONCLUSIONS: The dietary intakes of fish and of long chain n-3 fatty acids, as determined by the food frequency questionnaire, were correlated with the percentages of these fatty acids in plasma, and in particular with plasma DHA. Plasma DHA levels were correlated to dietary intake of long-chain n-3 fatty acids.
The purpose of this study was to develop a pharmaceutical formulation containing fatty acid extract rich in free omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid for topical use. Although the health benefits of cod liver oil and other fish oils taken orally as a dietary supplement have been acknowledged and exploited, it is clear that their use can be extended further to cover their antibacterial properties. In vitro evaluation showed that 20% (v/v) fatty acid extract exhibits good activity against strains of the Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Streptoccoccus pyogenes and Streptoccoccus pneumonia. Therefore, free polyunsaturated fatty acids from cod liver oil or other fish oils can be used as safe and natural antibacterial agents. In this study, ointment compositions containing free fatty acids as active antibacterial agents were prepared by using various natural waxes and characterized. The effects of different waxes, such as carnauba wax, ozokerite wax, laurel wax, beeswax, rice bran wax, candelilla wax and microcrystalline wax, in the concentration range of 1% to 5% (w/w) on the ointment texture, consistency and stability were evaluated. The results showed significant variations in texture, sensory and rheological profiles. This was attributed to the wax’s nature and chain composition. Microcrystalline wax gave the best results but laurel wax, beeswax and rice bran wax exhibited excellent texturing, similar sensory profiles and well-balanced rheological properties.
Little is known about the relationship between perceptions of nutrient adequacy and biomarkers of nutrition status. This cross-sectional study of U.S. and German adults (n = 200; 18-80 years) compared dietary practices, knowledge, and beliefs of omega-3 fatty acids (O3-FA) with the omega-3 index (O3-I), an erythrocyte-based biomarker associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. More than half of adults believed that O3-FAs are beneficial for heart and brain health and could correctly identify the food sources of O3-FA. However, the mean O3-I in the U.S. (4.3%) and Germany (5.5%) puts the majority of adults sampled (99%) in intermediate or high CVD-risk categories. More Americans were considered at high CVD-risk (40%) when compared with Germans (10%). In the U.S., but not Germany, women had a significantly higher O3-I than men (4.8% vs. 3.8%, p < 0.001). In the intermediate CVD-risk group, about one-third of adults in both countries (30% in the U.S. and 27% in Germany) believed their diet was adequate in O3-FA. Notably, mean O3-I concentrations did not significantly differ with dietary perceptions of adequacy. More adults in Germany (26%) than in the U.S. (10%) believed that dietary supplements are needed to achieve a balanced diet. In spite of adequate knowledge about food sources and a consistent belief that O3-FA are important for health, very few participants had O3-I concentrations in the range for CVD protection.
To date, most studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in humans have used a mixture of the 2 fatty acids in various forms and proportions.
In the past three decades, total fat and saturated fat intake as a percentage of total calories has continuously decreased in Western diets, while the intake of omega-6 fatty acid increased and the omega-3 fatty acid decreased, resulting in a large increase in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio from 1:1 during evolution to 20:1 today or even higher. This change in the composition of fatty acids parallels a significant increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Experimental studies have suggested that omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids elicit divergent effects on body fat gain through mechanisms of adipogenesis, browning of adipose tissue, lipid homeostasis, brain-gut-adipose tissue axis, and most importantly systemic inflammation. Prospective studies clearly show an increase in the risk of obesity as the level of omega-6 fatty acids and the omega-6/omega-3 ratio increase in red blood cell (RBC) membrane phospholipids, whereas high omega-3 RBC membrane phospholipids decrease the risk of obesity. Recent studies in humans show that in addition to absolute amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid intake, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio plays an important role in increasing the development of obesity via both AA eicosanoid metabolites and hyperactivity of the cannabinoid system, which can be reversed with increased intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio is important for health and in the prevention and management of obesity.