Previous studies suggested that women synthesise docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) more efficiently from their precursors than men. This study investigated the relationship between diet, platelet phospholipids fatty acids and gender. Dietary intake and platelet phosphatidyl-choline (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) fatty acids were determined in Caucasian 40 men and 34 women. Absolute and %energy intakes of arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and DHA, and the ratios of total n-6/n-3 PUFA and linoleic/alpha-linolenic acids did not differ between the sexes. However, women had higher DHA in PC (1.19 vs 1.05 wt%, p<0.05) and PE (3.62 vs 3.21 wt%, p<0.05) than men. Also EPA (1.10 vs 0.93 wt%, p<0.05) was higher in women's PE. Conversely, men had elevated AA and total n-6 fatty acids in PC. The higher platelet DHA levels and lower platelet AA/EPA and AA/DHA ratios in women of child-bearing age compared with men, may lead to less platelet aggregation and vaso-occlusion.
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