Stearidonic acid-enhanced soybean oil: a plant-based source of (n-3) fatty acids for foods

J Nutr. 2012 Mar;142(3):600S-604S. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.146613. Epub 2012 Jan 25.


Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids have been reported to have a variety of cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric benefits. Although obtaining the preformed fatty acids EPA and DHA from their traditional source (fish) is optimal, such an approach may not be realistic for meeting the world's growing demand for (n-3) fatty acids; therefore, a more sustainable and dependable source is needed. Stearidonic acid (SDA) is a metabolic precursor of EPA that can be provided by SDA-enhanced soybean oil. Such a product can provide a sustainable source of (n-3) fatty acids that does not endanger fish stocks. Two clinical trials have demonstrated that SDA-enhanced soybean oil can significantly improve an emerging marker of cardiovascular health, the omega-3 index (RBC EPA+DHA). The increase in the Index seen in these trials was used to estimate the potential clinical benefit of SDA consumption based on prior prospective cohort studies. In this analysis, risk for sudden cardiac death and the rate of cellular aging would both theoretically be reduced. The lower risk for major cardiac events seen in the Japan EPA Lipid Intervention Study (which used EPA supplementation) suggests that raising EPA tissue levels, independent of changes in DHA, can have clinical benefit. Thus, the consumption of foods containing SDA-enhanced soybean oil may be both a practical and sustainable approach to enriching tissues with beneficial (n-3) fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiotonic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Soybean Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Soybean Oil / metabolism


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Soybean Oil
  • stearidonic acid