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Curr Opin Lipidol. 2008 Feb;19(1):57-62. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e3282f2e2a8.

How relevant is the ratio of dietary n-6 to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to cardiovascular disease risk? Evidence from the OPTILIP study.

Author information

  • Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK. b.griffin@surrey.ac.uk

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

There has been much debate over the practical utility of the dietary ratio of n-6 to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in optimizing the benefits of n-3 fatty acids (C18-C22) on cardiovascular health. This review examines the supporting evidence from the OPTILIP study within the context of the emerging consensus on the value of this dietary metric.

RECENT FINDINGS:

The question of whether the ratio of n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or total amounts of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids is of more importance to cardiovascular health has been addressed recently in a randomly controlled trial (OPTILIP) and in a stable isotope tracer study. These two studies were independently unanimous in concluding that the ratio of n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is of no value in modifying cardiovascular disease risk. The latter study also showed that the absolute amounts of dietary linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are of relevance to the efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.

SUMMARY:

This review should help to settle any outstanding controversy over the dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It reinforces current recommendations to increase the consumption of preformed eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid in fish, and supports dietary measures to increase and decrease intakes alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, respectively, to promote the endogenous synthesis of these longer chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

PMID:
18196988
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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