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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec;64 Suppl 4:S1-13. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.242.

Essential fats for future health. Proceedings of the 9th Unilever Nutrition Symposium, 26-27 May 2010.

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  • 1Institute of Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

Abstract

The 9th Unilever Nutrition Symposium entitled 'Essential fats for future health', held on 26-27 May 2010, aimed to review the dietary recommendations for essential fatty acids (EFA); discuss the scientific evidence for the roles of EFA in cognition, immune function and cardiovascular health; and to identify opportunities for joint efforts by industry, academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations to effectively improve health behaviour. This paper summarizes the main conclusions of the presentations given at the symposium. Linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) are EFA that cannot by synthesized by the human body. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is considered as conditionally essential because of its limited formation from ALA in the human body and its critical role in early normal retinal and brain development and, jointly with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some evidence for possible beneficial roles of n-3 fatty acids for immune function and adult cognitive function is emerging. A higher consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; >10%E), including LA, ALA and at least 250-500 mg per day of EPA+DHA, is recommended for prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). Two dietary interventions suggest that EFA may affect CVD risk factors in children similarly as in adults. To ensure an adequate EFA intake of the population, including children, public health authorities should develop clear messages based on current science; ensure availability of healthy, palatable foods; and collaborate with scientists, the food industry, schools, hospitals, health-care providers and communities to encourage consumers to make healthy choices.

PMID:
21119686
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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