Plant- and marine-derived n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have differential effects on fasting and postprandial blood lipid concentrations and on the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative modification in moderately hyperlipidemic subjects.Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Apr; 77(4):783-95.AJ
Dietary alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) can be converted to long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in humans and may reproduce some of the beneficial effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on cardiovascular disease risk factors.
This study aimed to compare the effects of increased dietary intakes of ALA and EPA+DHA on a range of atherogenic risk factors.
This was a placebo-controlled, parallel study involving 150 moderately hyperlipidemic subjects randomly assigned to 1 of 5 interventions: 0.8 or 1.7 g EPA+DHA/d, 4.5 or 9.5 g ALA/d, or an n-6 PUFA control for 6 mo. Fatty acids were incorporated into 25 g of fat spread and 3 capsules to be consumed daily.
The change in fasting or postprandial lipid, glucose, or insulin concentrations or in blood pressure was not significantly different after any of the n-3 PUFA interventions compared with the n-6 PUFA control. The mean (+/- SEM) change in fasting triacylglycerols after the 1.7-g/d EPA+DHA intervention (-7.7 +/- 4.99%) was significantly (P < 0.05) different from the change after the 9.5-g/d ALA intervention (10.9 +/- 4.5%). The ex vivo susceptibility of LDL to oxidation was higher after the 1.7-g/d EPA+DHA intervention than after the control and ALA interventions (P < 0.05). There was no significant change in plasma alpha-tocopherol concentrations or in whole plasma antioxidant status in any of the groups.
At estimated biologically equivalent intakes, dietary ALA and EPA+DHA have different physiologic effects.