Metabolism of stearidonic acid in human subjects:comparison with the metabolism of other n-3 fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr

Rheumatology Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.92). 06/2003; 77(5):1140-5.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT For many persons who wish to obtain the health benefits provided by dietary n-3 fatty acids, daily ingestion of fish or fish oil is not a sustainable long-term approach. To increase the number of sustainable dietary options, a land-based source of n-3 fatty acids that is effective in increasing tissue concentrations of the long-chain n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is required.
The objective of the study was to examine the ability of dietary stearidonic acid (SDA) to increase tissue concentrations of EPA and DHA in healthy human subjects and to compare the effectiveness of SDA with that of the n-3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and EPA.
Encapsulated SDA, ALA, or EPA was ingested daily in doses of 0.75 g and then 1.5 g for periods of 3 wk each by healthy male and postmenopausal female subjects (n = 15/group) in a double-blind, parallel-group design.
Dietary SDA increased EPA and docosapentaenoic acid concentrations but not DHA concentrations in erythrocyte and in plasma phospholipids. The relative effectiveness of the tested dietary fatty acids in increasing tissue EPA was 1:0.3:0.07 for EPA:SDA:ALA.
Vegetable oils containing SDA could be a dietary source of n-3 fatty acids that would be more effective in increasing tissue EPA concentrations than are current ALA-containing vegetable oils. The use of SDA-containing oils in food manufacture could provide a wide range of dietary alternatives for increasing tissue EPA concentrations.

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    • "In view of the very limited bioconversion of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3 n-3) to DHA, averaging 3.5% in adults, recent clinical trials have focused on the potential benefits of supplementation with preformed DHA. It is noted that the desaturation product of ALA is stearidonic acid (18:4 n-3), and it is now found in some genetically modified seeds and oils and gives a 3–4-fold greater rise in blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 n-3) when compared with ALA (James et al. 2003) after a few weeks of daily feeding (without any increase in circulating DHA). Makrides et al. (2010) observed a significantly lower prevalence of preterm babies, low birth weight infants, and admission of newborns to intensive care by 52%, 36%, and 45%, respectively, when the pregnant mothers were supplemented with 800 mg of DHA (plus 100 mg of EPA) daily over 21 weeks of gestation compared with the placebo group. "
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    • "This transgenic stack resulted in accumulation of 18 per cent and 23 per cent, GLA and SDA respectively. Partial conversion of dietary SDA to EPA, has been shown in human and Atlantic salmon (James et al., 2003; Miller et al., 2007), but, higher levels of EPA accumulation were observed with diets containing oils enriched in EPA rather than SDA (James et al., 2003). Similarly, DHA levels in Atlantic salmon were enhanced with a fish oil-based diet that is rich in EPA and DHA (Miller et al., 2007). "
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    • "An interest in the nutritional importance of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has increased markedly in recent years. As the importance of the presence and proportions of various PUFAs in human and animal diets becomes better understood (Horrocks and Yeo 1999; Simopoulos 1999; James et al. 2003), demand for, and hence the value of, these dietary components is expected to increase further. At present, fish oils and cultured phototrophic microalgae are the main commercial sources of PUFA. "
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