The effect of modifying dietary LA and ALA intakes on omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 LCPUFA) status in human adults: a systematic review and commentary

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2015 Apr;95:47-55. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Jan 19.


This paper presents a systematic review of human studies investigating the effect of altering dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-6 PUFA) linoleic acid (LA) intakes on n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) status in adult humans. The results suggest that it is possible to increase n-3 LCPUFA status by reducing LA and/or increasing ALA intake in humans, although decreasing LA intake to below 2.5%E may be required to specifically increase levels of the n-3 LCPUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The majority of studies in this area to date have been relatively poor in quality, which limits the ability to draw robust conclusions, and we present a series of recommendations to improve the quality of future studies in fatty acid nutrition in humans.

Keywords: ALA; DHA; Diet; EPA; Human; LA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / administration & dosage*


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Linoleic Acid