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Nutr Metab (Lond). 2013 Jun 10;10(1):41. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-10-41.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids in serum and homocysteine concentrations in Japanese men and women: a cross-sectional study.

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Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Clinical Research Centre, National Centre for Global Health and Medicine, 1-21-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8655, Japan.



Supplementation studies have suggested a role of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in homocysteine metabolism, but the evidence is limited and inconsistent among studies that measured blood levels of n-3 and n-6 PUFAs. We examined the association between blood levels of PUFAs and homocysteine in Japanese men and women.


The subjects were 496 employees (290 men and 206 women) of 2 municipal offices in Japan. Fatty acid composition in serum phospholipids and cholesterol ester (CE) was measured using gas-liquid chromatography. Multiple regression was used to calculate means of homocysteine concentrations according to PUFA tertile with adjustment for potential confounders.


Serum homocysteine concentration decreased with increasing levels of total n-3 PUFA, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in serum phospholipids and CE with adjustment for age, sex and workplace. However, only DHA in serum phospholipids remained statistically significant after additional adjustment for other potential confounders including serum folate (P-trend = 0.04). N-6 PUFAs were not significantly associated with homocysteine concentrations.


Higher proportion of DHA in serum phospholipids may be associated with lower homocysteine concentrations in Japanese men and women.

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