Written Paper

n-6 Docosapentaenoic acid is not a predictor of low docosahexaenoic acid status in Canadian preschool children  [2004]

Innis, S.M. Vaghri, Z. King, D.J.

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Background: The n-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3) is important for neural and visual functional development. In animals, 22:6n-3 deficiency is accompanied by increased docosapentaenoic acid (DPA; 22:5n-6), which suggests that the ratio of 22:6n-3 to 22:5n-6 could be a useful biochemical marker of low n-3 fatty acid status. The n-3 fatty acid status of preschool children has not been described, and data are lacking on whether low 22:6n-3 is accompanied by high 22:5n-6 in humans. Objective: We determined n-3 fatty acid status and investigated the relation between 22:6n-3 and 22:5n-6 in children. Design: In Canadian children aged 18-60 mo (n = 84), the n-3 and n-6 fatty acid status of erythrocyte phosphatidylethanolamine was measured, and dietary fat intake was estimated by using a food-frequency questionnaire. Results: The mean (± SEM) 22:6n-3 concentration in erythrocyte phosphatidylethanolamine among children was 3.06 ± 0.13 g/100 g fatty acids (5th-95th percentiles: 1.43-5.79 g/100 g fatty acids). Concentrations of 22:5n-6 increased with increasing 22:6n-3 concentrations in erythrocyte phosphatidylethanolamine (P < 0.01). Mean intakes of linoleic acid (18:2n-6), linolenic acid (18:3n-3), and trans fatty acids were 3.6 ± 0.2%, 0.7 ± 0.5%, and 2.0 ± 1.3%, respectively. Phosphatidylethanolamine 22:6n-3 and 22:5n-3 concentrations were inversely related to the intakes of 18:2n-6 and trans fatty acids, but not to those of total fat or n-3 fatty
acids. Conclusions: The concentration of 22:5n-6 is not a useful biochemical marker of low n-3 fatty acid intake or status in the membrane phosphatidylethanolamine of preschool children. High intakes of 18:2n-6 and trans fatty acids could compromise the incorporation of 22:6n-3 into membrane phospholipids.

From the journal

American journal of clinical nutrition

ISSN : 0002-9165