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Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetarian diets.
Med J Aust. 2013 08 19; 199(S4):S22-6.MJ

Abstract

While intakes of the omega-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid (ALA) are similar in vegetarians and non-vegetarians, intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are low in vegetarians and virtually absent in vegans. Plasma, blood and tissue levels of EPA and DHA are lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians, although the clinical significance of this is unknown. Vegetarians do not exhibit clinical signs of DHA deficiency, but further research is required to ascertain whether levels observed in vegetarians are sufficient to support optimal health. ALA is endogenously converted to EPA and DHA, but the process is slow and inefficient and is affected by genetics, sex, age and dietary composition. Vegetarians can take practical steps to optimise conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA, including reducing intake of linoleic acid. There are no official separate recommendations for intake of fatty acids by vegetarians. However, we suggest that vegetarians double the current adequate intake of ALA if no direct sources of EPA and DHA are consumed. Vegetarians with increased needs or reduced conversion ability may receive some advantage from DHA and EPA supplements derived from microalgae. A supplement of 200-300 mg/day of DHA and EPA is suggested for those with increased needs, such as pregnant and lactating women, and those with reduced conversion ability, such as older people or those who have chronic disease (eg, diabetes).

Authors+Show Affiliations

Corporate Nutrition, Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, Berkeley Vale, NSW, Australia. angela.saunders@sanitarium.com.au.Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25369925

Citation

Saunders, Angela V., et al. "Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Vegetarian Diets." The Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 199, no. S4, 2013, pp. S22-6.
Saunders AV, Davis BC, Garg ML. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetarian diets. Med J Aust. 2013;199(S4):S22-6.
Saunders, A. V., Davis, B. C., & Garg, M. L. (2013). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetarian diets. The Medical Journal of Australia, 199(S4), S22-6.
Saunders AV, Davis BC, Garg ML. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Vegetarian Diets. Med J Aust. 2013 08 19;199(S4):S22-6. PubMed PMID: 25369925.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vegetarian diets. AU - Saunders,Angela V, AU - Davis,Brenda C, AU - Garg,Manohar L, PY - 2014/11/6/entrez PY - 2013/8/1/pubmed PY - 2015/1/6/medline SP - S22 EP - 6 JF - The Medical journal of Australia JO - Med. J. Aust. VL - 199 IS - S4 N2 - While intakes of the omega-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid (ALA) are similar in vegetarians and non-vegetarians, intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are low in vegetarians and virtually absent in vegans. Plasma, blood and tissue levels of EPA and DHA are lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians, although the clinical significance of this is unknown. Vegetarians do not exhibit clinical signs of DHA deficiency, but further research is required to ascertain whether levels observed in vegetarians are sufficient to support optimal health. ALA is endogenously converted to EPA and DHA, but the process is slow and inefficient and is affected by genetics, sex, age and dietary composition. Vegetarians can take practical steps to optimise conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA, including reducing intake of linoleic acid. There are no official separate recommendations for intake of fatty acids by vegetarians. However, we suggest that vegetarians double the current adequate intake of ALA if no direct sources of EPA and DHA are consumed. Vegetarians with increased needs or reduced conversion ability may receive some advantage from DHA and EPA supplements derived from microalgae. A supplement of 200-300 mg/day of DHA and EPA is suggested for those with increased needs, such as pregnant and lactating women, and those with reduced conversion ability, such as older people or those who have chronic disease (eg, diabetes). SN - 1326-5377 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25369925/Omega_3_polyunsaturated_fatty_acids_and_vegetarian_diets_ L2 - https://www.mja.com.au/doi/10.5694/mja11.11507 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -
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