Background: We studied the oxidation of an oil rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; DHASCO((R))) in lactating mothers receiving a dietary DHA supplement or a placebo. The results were compared with the oxidation of linoleic acid.
Methods: Breast-feeding mothers received a dietary supplement (DHASCO; 200 mg DHA/day, n = 5) or a placebo (n = 5) for 14 days. Six weeks post partum all 10 mothers received a single dose of 2 mg/kg body weight uniformly (13)C-labeled DHASCO. In a previously reported study 6 mothers received 1 mg/kg body weight uniformly (13)C-labeled linoleic acid. Breath samples were collected over 48 h after tracer application. The total CO(2) production was measured by indirect calorimetry and the (13)C isotopic enrichment of labeled CO(2) by isotopic ratio mass spectrometry.
Results: The oxidation of (13)C-labeled DHASCO in the supplemented and placebo groups was similar. Maximal (13)C enrichment was reached earlier in the group receiving (13)C-DHASCO (median 1.0 vs. 3.0 h in the linoleic acid group). The cumulative (13)C recovery in breath was higher in the DHASCO versus the linoleic acid group until 10 h after tracer application and comparable thereafter.
Conclusions: The difference in oxidation of DHASCO versus linoleic acid after tracer ingestion might be partly due to a faster absorption and oxidation of shorter chain saturated fatty acids contained in DHASCO. The cumulative oxidation of DHASCO and linoleic acid 24 and 48 h after tracer ingestion is similar.
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