Distribution of omega-3 fatty acids in tissues of rabbits fed a flaxseed-supplemented diet

Metabolism. 2010 May;59(5):620-7. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.09.005. Epub 2009 Nov 14.


Diets rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with decreased incidences of cardiovascular disease. The extent of incorporation and distribution of these beneficial fats into body tissues is uncertain. Rabbits were fed regular rabbit chow or a diet containing 10% ground flaxseed that is highly enriched with the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The high-flaxseed diet resulted in an incorporation of ALA in all tissues, but mostly in the heart and liver with little in the brain. Docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acid levels were also selectively increased in some tissues, and the effects were not as large as ALA. Arachidonic acid and the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids were decreased in all tissues obtained from the flax-supplemented group. Consumption of dietary flaxseed appears to be an effective means to increase ALA content in body tissues, but the degree will depend upon the tissues examined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Flax*
  • Male
  • Rabbits / blood
  • Rabbits / metabolism*
  • Random Allocation
  • Tissue Distribution
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / blood
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / pharmacokinetics*


  • alpha-Linolenic Acid