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Welch AA, Bingham SA, Ive J, Friesen MD, Wareham NJ, Riboli E et al.. Dietary fish intake and plasma phospholipid n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations in men and women in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer-Norfolk United Kingdom cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 84, 1330-1339

Department of Public Health and Primary Care and the Clinical Gerontology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 01/2007; 84(6):1330-9.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, found in fish and fish-oil supplements and also formed by conversion of alpha-linolenic acid in soy and rapeseed (canola) oils, are thought to have cardioprotective effects.
Because the relative feasibility and measurement error of dietary methods varies, this study compared fish and fish-oil intakes obtained from 4 dietary methods with plasma n-3 PUFAs in men and women in a general population.
The study participants were 4949 men and women aged 40-79 y from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer-Norfolk United Kingdom cohort. Measurements of plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFA concentrations and fish intakes were made with the use of 4 dietary methods (food-frequency questionnaire, health and lifestyle questionnaire, 7-d diary, and first-day recall from the 7-d diary).
Amounts of fish consumed and relations with plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFAs were not substantially different between the 4 dietary methods. Plasma n-3 PUFA concentrations were significantly higher in women than in men, were 20% higher in fish-oil consumers than in non-fish-oil consumers, and were twice as high in fatty fish consumers as in total fish consumers. Only approximately 25% of the variation in plasma n-3 PUFA was explained by fish and fish-oil consumption.
This large study found no substantial differences between dietary methods and observed clear sex differences in plasma n-3 PUFAs. Because variation in n-3 PUFA was only partially determined by fish and fish-oil consumption, this could explain the inconsistent results of observational and intervention studies on coronary artery disease protection.

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    • "However, the collection and analysis of erythrocytes can introduce various practical issues involving collection, processing and storage[5]such that plasma and whole blood fatty acid determinations are completed instead. Some of the largest clinical studies examining blood fatty acids have used the plasma fraction678910111213while whole blood use is increasing1415161718[19,20]. The use of other fractions may also highlight challenges of the use of erythrocytes, as they are prone to oxidation during storage212223, and sample processing and analysis can be more complicated[20,24]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Specific blood levels of eicosapentaenoic plus docosahexaenoic acid (EPA+DHA, wt% of total) in erythrocytes or “the omega-3 index” have been recommended for cardio-protection, but fatty acids are often measured in different blood fractions. The ability to estimate the % of EPA+DHA in erythrocytes from the fatty acid composition of other blood fractions would enable clinical assessments of omega-3 status when erythrocyte fractions are not available and increase the ability to compare blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids across clinical studies. The fatty acid composition of baseline plasma, erythrocytes and whole blood samples from participants (n=1104) in a prospective, multicenter study examining acute coronary syndrome were determined. The ability to predict the % of EPA+DHA in erythrocytes from other blood fractions were examined using bivariate and multiple linear regression modelling. Concordance analysis was also used to compare the actual erythrocytes EPA+DHA values to values estimated from other blood fractions. EPA+DHA in erythrocytes was significantly (p<0.001) correlated EPA+DHA in plasma (r2=0.54) and whole blood (r2=0.79). Using multiple linear regression to predict EPA+DHA in erythrocytes resulted in stronger coefficients of determination in both plasma (R2=0.70) and whole blood (R2=0.84). Concordance analyses indicated agreement between actual and estimated EPA+DHA in erythrocytes, although estimating from plasma fatty acids appears to require translation by categorization rather than by translation as continuous data. This study shows that the fatty acid composition of different blood fractions can be used to estimate erythrocyte EPA+DHA in a population with acute coronary syndrome.
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    • "Reductions in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake, which is especially important for brain development of fetuses, newborns, toddlers, and children, are most critical (Kris-Etherton et al. 2002; Lee et al. 2009). Because up to 25% of omega-3 PUFAs are taken up with fish (Welch et al. 2006), markedly reducing fish consumption would also reduce their intake significantly. "
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