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Dietary methods and biomarkers of omega 3 fatty acids: a systematic review

Serra-Majem, Lluis; Nissensohn, Mariela; Øverby, Nina C.; Fekete, Katalin

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PMID: 22591904


The aims of the present study were to review the validity of dietary methods used to measure the usual long chain (LC) omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) intake of a population and to assess the usefulness of different biomarkers of n-3 PUFA in healthy humans. Two systematic literature searches were conducted until May 2011 to update previous systematic reviews. The first literature search aimed to find studies validating the methodology used for measuring the dietary intake of n-3 PUFA. The second search aimed to find human intervention studies in which n-3 PUFA status changed after 2 weeks of n-3 PUFA supplementation. Sixteen studies were identified for inclusion in the first review. Correlation coefficients between fatty acids in subcutaneous fat or blood lipids and dietary intake of n-3 PUFA from different questionnaires were similar. Subcutaneous fat has been reported as the best reference method for some authors, and these studies showed moderate correlation coefficients with no dietary intake method being superior to any other. As for the evaluation of biomarkers of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22 : 6 n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20 : 5n-3) status in response to supplementation, the new search reaffirmed and reinforced the evidence supporting that plasma phospholipid DHA, erythrocyte DHA, and platelet DHA were all effective and robust biomarkers of DHA status. Our findings only confirmed earlier studies and did not provide evidence for reaching new conclusions.

Automatic Tags

Humans; Diet; Dietary Supplements; Nutritional Status; Reference Values; Fatty Acids, Omega-3; Docosahexaenoic Acids; Biomarkers; Lipids; Nutrition Assessment; Subcutaneous Fat; Validation Studies as Topic

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