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Association of oily fish intake, sex, age, BMI and APOE genotype with plasma long-chain n-3 fatty acid composition

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Mathers



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Cambridge University Press, 2018.

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Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with better cardiovascular and cognitive health. However, the concentration of EPA, DPA and DHA in different plasma lipid pools differs and factors influencing this heterogeneity are poorly understood. Our aim was to evaluate the association of oily fish intake, sex, age, BMI and APOE genotype with concentrations of EPA, DPA and DHA in plasma PC, NEFAs, CEs and TGs. Healthy adults (148 male, 158 female, age 20-71 years) were recruited according to APOE genotype, sex and age. Fatty acid composition was determined by gas chromatography. Oily fish intake was positively associated with EPA in PC, CEs and TGs, DPA in TGs, and DHA in all fractions (P < 0.008). There was a positive association between age and EPA in PC, CEs and TGs, DPA in NEFAs and CEs, and DHA in PC and CEs (P < 0.034). DPA was higher in TGs in males than females (P < 0.001). There was a positive association between BMI and DPA and DHA in TGs (P < 0.006 and 0.02, respectively). APOE genotype*sex interactions were observed: the APOE4 allele associated with higher EPA in males (P = 0.002), and there was also evidence for higher DPA and DHA (P < 0.032). In conclusion, EPA, DPA and DHA in plasma lipids are associated with oily fish intake, sex, age, BMI, and APOE genotype. Such insights may be used to better understand the link between plasma fatty acid profiles and dietary exposure and may influence intake recommendations across population subgroups.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fisk HL, Irvine M, Miles EA, Mathers JC, Packard CJ, Armah CK, Kofler BM, Curtis PJ, Minihane AM, Calder PC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Nutrition

Year: 2018

Volume: 120

Issue: 1

Pages: 23-32

Print publication date: 14/07/2018

Online publication date: 06/05/2018

Acceptance date: 20/03/2018

Date deposited: 04/05/2018

ISSN (print): 0007-1145

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2662

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S000711451800106X


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Funder referenceFunder name
RRD7/N02/A from the UK Food Standards Agency,