Next Article in Journal
Vitamin B12-Containing Plant Food Sources for Vegetarians
Next Article in Special Issue
Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Effects of Fish Oil and Multivitamin Supplementation on the Incorporation of n-3 and n-6 Fatty Acids into Red Blood Cells
Previous Article in Journal
Ethnic Variation in Breastfeeding and Complimentary Feeding in the Republic of Ireland
Previous Article in Special Issue
Detailed Distribution of Lipids in Greenshell™ Mussel (Perna canaliculus)
Nutrients 2014, 6(5), 1850-1860; doi:10.3390/nu6051850

Relationship between Erythrocyte Omega-3 Content and Obesity Is Gender Dependent

1,2,* , 1
1 Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia 2 Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 March 2014 / Revised: 26 April 2014 / Accepted: 29 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [343 KB, uploaded 5 May 2014]   |   Browse Figures


Epidemiological evidence of an inverse association between consumption of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) and obesity has been conflicting, even though studies in animal models of obesity and limited human trials suggest that LC n-3 PUFA consumption may contribute to weight loss. We used baseline data from a convenience sample of 476 adults (291 women, 185 men) participating in clinical trials at our Centre to explore relationships between erythrocyte levels of LC n-3 PUFA (a reliable indicator of habitual intake) and measures of adiposity, viz. body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and body fat (BF) assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Means ± SD of assessments were BMI: 34 ± 7 and 31 ± 5 kg/m2; WC: 105 ± 16 and 110 ± 13 cm; BF: 48 ± 5 and 35% ± 6% in women and men respectively. Erythrocyte levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were similar in men and women while docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) was higher and EPA + DHA (Omega-3 Index) slightly lower in men than in women. Both DHA and EPA + DHA correlated inversely with BMI, WC and BF in women while DPA correlated inversely with BF in men. Quartile distributions and curvilinear regression of the Omega-3 Index versus BMI revealed a steep rise of BMI in the lower range of the Omega-3 Index in women, but no association in men. Thus the results highlight important gender differences in relationships of specific LC n-3 PUFA in erythrocytes to markers of adiposity. If these reflect causal relationships between LC n-3 PUFA consumption and risk of obesity, gender specific targeted interventions should be considered.
Keywords: Omega-3 Index; adiposity; fish oil; gender Omega-3 Index; adiposity; fish oil; gender
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
MDPI and ACS Style

Howe, P.R.C.; Buckley, J.D.; Murphy, K.J.; Pettman, T.; Milte, C.; Coates, A.M. Relationship between Erythrocyte Omega-3 Content and Obesity Is Gender Dependent. Nutrients 2014, 6, 1850-1860.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here


Cited By

[Return to top]
Nutrients EISSN 2072-6643 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert