Plasma n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids are negatively associated with obesity

Br J Nutr. 2009 Nov;102(9):1370-4. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509382173. Epub 2009 May 19.


The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between plasma n-3 PUFA composition and weight status. A total of 124 adults, stratified by weight status: healthy weight (n 21), overweight (n 40) and obese (n 63) were recruited. Fasting blood samples, anthropometric measures and body composition were collected. Plasma fatty acid composition was determined by GC. BMI, waist circumference and hip circumference were inversely correlated with n-3 PUFA, EPA and DHA (P < 0.05 for all) in the obese group. Obese individuals had significantly lower plasma concentrations of total n-3 PUFA, compared with healthy-weight individuals (4.53 (SD 1.11) v. 5.25 (SD 1.43) %). When subjects were pooled and stratified into quartiles of total n-3 PUFA, a significant inverse trend was found for BMI (P = 0.002), waist circumference and hip circumference (P = 0.01 and P < 0.001 respectively). Higher plasma levels of total n-3 PUFA are associated with a healthier BMI, waist circumference and hip circumference. Our findings suggest that n-3 PUFA may play an important role in weight status and abdominal adiposity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Body Mass Index
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Female
  • Hip / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / pathology
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3