Effects of supplementation with fish oil-derived n-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid on circulating plasma lipids and fatty acid profiles in women.


Laidlaw M, Holub B




Am J Clin Nutr


BACKGROUND: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) have lipid-modifying and antiinflammatory properties. The effects of supplement mixtures of these fatty acids on plasma lipids and the fatty acid compositions of serum phospholipids have received little attention. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to determine the effects of different levels of GLA supplementation together with a constant intake of EPA plus DHA on the triacylglycerol-lowering effect of EPA plus DHA alone and on the fatty acid patterns (eicosanoid precursors) of serum phospholipids. DESIGN: Thirty-one women were assigned to 1 of 4 groups, equalized on the basis of their fasting triacylglycerol concentrations. They received supplements providing 4 g EPA+DHA (4:0, EPA+DHA:GLA; control group), 4 g EPA+DHA plus 1 g GLA (4:1), 2 g GLA (4:2), or 4 g GLA (4:4) daily for 28 d. Plasma lipids and fatty acids of serum phospholipids were measured on days 0 and 28. RESULTS: Plasma triacylglycerol concentrations were significantly lower on day 28 than on day 0 in the 4:0, 4:1, and 4:2 groups. LDL cholesterol decreased significantly (by 11.3%) in the 4:2 group. Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid increased significantly in serum phospholipids only in the 4:2 and 4:4 groups; however, total n-3 fatty acids increased in all 4 groups. CONCLUSIONS: A mixture of 4 g EPA+DHA and 2 g GLA favorably altered blood lipid and fatty acid profiles in healthy women. On the basis of calculated PROCAM values, the 4:2 group was estimated to have a 43% reduction in the 10-y risk of myocardial infarction.