Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) from Rosa canina, sacha inchi and chia oils may increase ALA accretion and its conversion into n-3 LCPUFA in diverse tissues of the rat

Food Funct. 2014 Jul 25;5(7):1564-72. doi: 10.1039/c3fo60688k.


Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential n-3 PUFA; its n-3 LCPUFA derivatives EPA and DHA, which have diverse beneficial effects, are scarce in the human diet. In recent years nontraditional vegetable oils rich in ALA (up to 45%) have been developed as new alternatives to increase ALA consumption. This work evaluated the accretion of ALA, EPA and DHA into the phospholipids extracted from erythrocytes, liver, kidney, small intestine, heart, quadriceps and the brain in rats fed sunflower (SFO), canola (CO), Rosa canina (RCO), sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis, SIO) and chia (Salvia hispánica, ChO) oils. Five experimental groups (n = 12 per group) were fed for 21 days with SFO (1% ALA), CO (10% ALA), RCO (33% ALA), SIO (49% ALA), and ChO (64% ALA). SIO and ChO allowed higher ALA accretion in all tissues, except the brain, and a reduction in the content of arachidonic acid in all tissues except the brain. EPA was increased in erythrocytes, liver, kidney, small intestine, heart and quadriceps, but not in the brain. DHA was increased in the liver, small intestine and brain tissues. Our results demonstrate that ALA, when provided in significant amounts, can be converted into n-3 LCPUFA, mostly DHA in the liver and brain. It is suggested that oils rich in ALA, such as SIO and ChO, are good sources for obtaining higher tissue levels of ALA, also allowing its selective conversion into n-3 LCPUFA in some tissues of the rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acid / analysis
  • Arachidonic Acid / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / analysis
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / analysis
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Euphorbiaceae / chemistry*
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiology
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Rosa / chemistry*
  • Salvia / chemistry*
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / analysis
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / pharmacology*


  • Phospholipids
  • Plant Oils
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid