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Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 09; 78(3 Suppl):640S-646S.AJ

Abstract

Although vegetarian diets are generally lower in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than are nonvegetarian diets, they provide comparable levels of essential fatty acids. Vegetarian, especially vegan, diets are relatively low in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) compared with linoleic acid (LA) and provide little, if any, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Clinical studies suggest that tissue levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids are depressed in vegetarians, particularly in vegans. n-3 Fatty acids have numerous physiologic benefits, including potent cardioprotective effects. These effects have been demonstrated for ALA as well as EPA and DHA, although the response is generally less for ALA than for EPA and DHA. Conversion of ALA by the body to the more active longer-chain metabolites is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and 2-5% for DHA. Thus, total n-3 requirements may be higher for vegetarians than for nonvegetarians, as vegetarians must rely on conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA. Because of the beneficial effects of n-3 fatty acids, it is recommended that vegetarians make dietary changes to optimize n-3 fatty acid status.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. pmk3@psu.eduNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

12936959

Citation

Davis, Brenda C., and Penny M. Kris-Etherton. "Achieving Optimal Essential Fatty Acid Status in Vegetarians: Current Knowledge and Practical Implications." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 78, no. 3 Suppl, 2003, 640S-646S.
Davis BC, Kris-Etherton PM. Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):640S-646S.
Davis, B. C., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2003). Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78(3 Suppl), 640S-646S. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/78.3.640S
Davis BC, Kris-Etherton PM. Achieving Optimal Essential Fatty Acid Status in Vegetarians: Current Knowledge and Practical Implications. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):640S-646S. PubMed PMID: 12936959.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. AU - Davis,Brenda C, AU - Kris-Etherton,Penny M, PY - 2003/8/26/pubmed PY - 2003/9/17/medline PY - 2003/8/26/entrez SP - 640S EP - 646S JF - The American journal of clinical nutrition JO - Am. J. Clin. Nutr. VL - 78 IS - 3 Suppl N2 - Although vegetarian diets are generally lower in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than are nonvegetarian diets, they provide comparable levels of essential fatty acids. Vegetarian, especially vegan, diets are relatively low in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) compared with linoleic acid (LA) and provide little, if any, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Clinical studies suggest that tissue levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids are depressed in vegetarians, particularly in vegans. n-3 Fatty acids have numerous physiologic benefits, including potent cardioprotective effects. These effects have been demonstrated for ALA as well as EPA and DHA, although the response is generally less for ALA than for EPA and DHA. Conversion of ALA by the body to the more active longer-chain metabolites is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and 2-5% for DHA. Thus, total n-3 requirements may be higher for vegetarians than for nonvegetarians, as vegetarians must rely on conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA. Because of the beneficial effects of n-3 fatty acids, it is recommended that vegetarians make dietary changes to optimize n-3 fatty acid status. SN - 0002-9165 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/12936959/Achieving_optimal_essential_fatty_acid_status_in_vegetarians:_current_knowledge_and_practical_implications_ L2 - https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ajcn/78.3.640S DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -