A low omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-6 PUFA) diet increases omega-3 (n-3) long chain PUFA status in plasma phospholipids in humans

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2014 Apr;90(4):133-8. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2013.12.010. Epub 2014 Jan 8.


This study aimed to determine the effect of reducing the dietary linoleic acid (LA) intake from ~5% to <2.5% energy (%E) on n-3 long chain PUFA (LCPUFA) status in humans. Thirty-six participants followed a <2.5%E LA diet for 4 weeks. Nutrient intakes were estimated from diet diaries and blood samples were collected for assessment of fatty acid composition in plasma and erythrocyte phospholipids. LA intakes were reduced from 4.6%E to 2%E during the low LA intervention (P<0.001) while n-3 LCPUFA intakes were unchanged. LA and total n-6 PUFA content of plasma and erythrocyte phospholipids were significantly reduced after the low LA diet phase (P<0.001). The n-3 LCPUFA content of plasma phospholipids was significantly increased after the low LA diet compared to baseline (6.22% vs. 5.53%, P<0.001). These data demonstrate that reducing LA intake for 4 weeks increases n-3 LCPUFA status in humans in the absence of increased n-3 LCPUFA intake.

Keywords: ALA; Diet; Linoleic acid (LA); Omega-3 PUFA; Omega-6 PUFA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phospholipids / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Phospholipids
  • Linoleic Acid