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Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Jun;63(6):925-32.

Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake on phospholipid fatty acid composition in plasma and erythrocytes.

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Istituto di Clinica Medica Generale e Cardiologia, University of Florence, Italy.


To characterize the time course of plasma and red blood cell (RBC) changes after n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation, 20 healthy male volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either four 1-g capsules of n-3 PUFA ethyl esters or four 1-g capsules of olive oil (as placebo) for a period of 4 mo, followed by a 3-mo washout period. Fatty acids of plasma and RBC phospholipid fractions were analyzed at 0, 2, and 4 mo of treatment and at 1, 2, and 3 mo of washout. During n-3 PUFA supplementation, accumulations of eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosapentaenoic (DPA), and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids were marked after 2 mo with differences among different fractions of plasma and RBCs in further accumulation up to 4 mo. During the first and second months of the washout, slight differences were observed in changes of various fatty acids among different phospholipid fractions, but after 3 mo of washout, only minor alterations were still detectable with respect to pretreatment values. These data confirm the complex relations among different fatty acid pools after n-3 PUFA supplementation.

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