Black currant seed oil and fish oil supplements differ in their effects on fatty acid profiles of plasma lipids, and concentrations of serum total and lipoprotein lipids, plasma glucose and insulin

J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Jun;16(6):353-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2005.01.004.


European diets provide a suboptimal intake of eicosapentaenoic (20:5n3) and docosahexaenoic (22:6n3) acids, which are derived mainly from fish oils. The present study indicates that black currant seed oil, which contains 14.5% alpha-linolenic (18:3n3), 12.6% gamma-linolenic (18:3n6), 47.5% linoleic (18:2n6) and 2.7% stearidonic (18:4n3) acids, could potentially serve as alternative to fish oil as a n3 fatty acid source. Fifteen healthy females participated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover study including two 4-week periods with either 3 g/day of black currant seed oil or 2.8 g/day of fish oil separated by a 4-week washout period. The results show that black currant seed oil supplementation increased the proportion of 18:3n6 in triacylglycerols (TAG) and cholesteryl esters (CE), and that of dihomo-gamma-linolenic (20:3n6) in TAGs, CEs and glycerophospholipids (GPL) (P<.05). Proportion of 18:3n6 was higher (P<.05) after black currant seed oil than after fish oil in TAGs and CEs, and that of 20:3n6 in TAGs, CEs and GPLs. Black currant seed oil supplementation caused only minor changes in the proportions of 20:5n3 or 22:6n3. Serum levels of LDL cholesterol were lower (P<.05) after black currant seed oil compared to fish oil. Plasma glucose concentration decreased during the fish oil supplementation (P<.05).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Food, Formulated
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fish Oils
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Plant Oils
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid
  • black currant oil