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Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2013;83(1):36-47. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000143.

Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids intake and dietary sources in a representative sample of Spanish adults.

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UCM Research Group VALORNUT (920030), Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.


The present study analyzes the intake of omega 3 (n-3 PUFAs) and omega 6 (n-6 PUFAs) and dietary sources in a representative sample of Spanish adults. For this purpose 418 adults (18 - 60 y), from 15 Spanish provinces were studied. The intake of energy and nutrients [specifically, the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs,) α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); and the n-6 PUFA, linoleic acid (LA)] was determined using a 24-hour recall questionnaire for two days. The Multiple Source Method (MSM) was used to estimate participants’ usual fatty acid intake. The total n-3 PUFAs intake was 1.8 ± 0.60 g/day (ALA: 1.3 ± 0.32, EPA: 0.16 ± 0.14, and DHA: 0.33 ± 0.21 g/day) and n-6 PUFA intake was 11.0 ± 2.7 g/day (LA: 10.8 ± 2.7 g/day). A high proportion of participants did not meet their nutrient intake goals for total n-3 PUFAs (84.7 %), ALA (45.0 %), and EPA plus DHA (62.9 %). The main food sources for ALA were oil, dairy products, and meat; for EPA fish; for DHA, fish, eggs, and meat; and for LA, oils, meat, and cereals. Therefore, an increase in the intake of foods rich in n-3 PUFAs or the use of supplements with n-3 PUFAs might help to improve the n-3 PUFA intake.


adults; dietary sources; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; omega-3 fatty acids; omega-6 fatty acids

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