Very Low n–3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Status in Austrian Vegetarians and VegansKornsteiner M. · Singer I. · Elmadfa I.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Background/Aims: The objective of the study was to collect data on dietary fat intake of omnivores, vegetarians, vegans and semi-omnivores as well as its impact on n–3 and n–6 fatty acids in long-term markers such as sphingolipids, phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylserine (PS), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) as well as the calculated sphingo- and phospholipids (SPL) of erythrocytes. Method: The present observational study included 98 Austrian adult volunteers of both genders, of which 23 were omnivores, 25 vegetarians, 37 vegans, and 13 semi-omnivores. Information on anthropometry using measured body weight and height was obtained. The amount and composition of ingested fat were calculated from 24-hour recalls and the fatty acid pattern in the phospholipids was assessed using gas chromatography. Results: The unbalanced n–6/n–3 ratio and the limited dietary sources of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in vegans and vegetarians led to reductions in C20:5n–3, C22:5n–3, C22:6n–3 and total n–3 fatty acids in SPL, PC, PS and PE compared with omnivores and semi-omnivores. The total content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and saturated fatty acids remained unchanged. Conclusion: The vegetarian diet, with an average n–6/n–3 ratio of 10/1, promotes biochemical n–3 tissue decline. To ensure physical, mental and neurological health vegetarians have to reduce the n–6/n–3 ratio with an additional intake of direct sources of EPA and DHA, regardless of age and gender.
Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
AT–1090 Vienna (Austria)
Tel. +43 1 4277 54901, Fax +43 1 4277 9549, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: August 8, 2006
Accepted: September 17, 2007
Published online: February 28, 2008
Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 6, Number of References : 41
Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (Journal of Nutrition, Metabolic Diseases and Dietetics)
Vol. 52, No. 1, Year 2008 (Cover Date: April 2008)
Journal Editor: Elmadfa I. (Vienna)
ISSN: 0250–6807 (Print), eISSN: 1421–9697 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/ANM