Plasma concentrations of (n-3) highly unsaturated fatty acids are good biomarkers of relative dietary fatty acid intakes: a cross-sectional study.J Nutr 2003; 133(11):3643-50JN
A cross-sectional study was conducted to clarify the associations of lifestyle factors (habitual exercise, alcohol intake and smoking habit) and plasma fatty acid (FA) concentrations as biomarkers of dietary FA intakes. We collected 7-d weighed diet records, lifestyle information and blood samples from 15 male and 79 female Japanese dietitians, and estimated dietary FA intakes and analyzed plasma FA concentrations. Plasma concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and (n-3) highly unsaturated FA (HUFA) derived from marine foods, but not linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid from plant origins, demonstrated positive correlations with dietary intakes (r = 0.303-0.602, P < 0.05) in both genders. Multiple linear regression analyses adjusted for age, BMI, total energy intake, fat (or respective FA) consumption and lifestyle factors showed that dietary intakes of EPA, DHA and (n-3) HUFA were positively associated with age in men (P < 0.05) and negatively associated with BMI in women [P < 0.01 for DHA and (n-3) HUFA]. The plasma concentrations of EPA, DHA and (n-3) HUFA in women were found to be positively associated with age and marine oil (or respective FA) intake (P < 0.01), and negatively associated with total energy intake [P < 0.05 for EPA and (n-3) HUFA]. Lifestyle factors were not associated with dietary FA intakes and plasma FA concentrations. These findings suggest that the plasma concentrations of EPA, DHA and (n-3) HUFA might be useful biomarkers for the assessment of relative FA intakes without considering associations with habitual exercise, alcohol intake and smoking habit.