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West J Nurs Res. 2010 Feb;32(1):64-80. doi: 10.1177/0193945909347913. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

Effect of n-3 oral supplements on the n-6/n-3 ratio in young adults.

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The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.


Epidemiological studies show that n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ratios have risen dramatically in Western diets and are associated with numerous chronic inflammation-related diseases. More balanced ratios are linked to less inflammation. This study examines the effects of adding oral supplements containing n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to diets of healthy young adults on plasma n-6/n-3 ratios. Thirty volunteers are randomly assigned to one of two groups: experimental group, EPA (1.6 g/day) and DHA (1.2 g/day); and the control group, mineral oil (2.4 ml/day). Plasma fatty acids, nutrients from foods, and anthropometric measures are evaluated at baseline and at the Week 4 endpoint. The mean (+/-SD) n-6/n-3 ratio for the experimental group is significantly lower (6.3 +/- 1.6) than the placebo group (16.8 +/- 3.5) by study completion. The results suggest that more balanced n-6/n-3 ratios may be achieved efficiently in healthy, young adults with supplements containing EPA and DHA.

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