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Alpha-Linolenic and Linoleic Fatty Acids in the Vegan Diet: Do They Require Dietary Reference Intake/Adequate Intake Special Consideration?

1
Nutrition and Food Science Department, Don B Huntley College of Agriculture, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA 91768, USA
2
Nutrition Department, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2365; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102365
Received: 29 June 2019 / Revised: 22 September 2019 / Accepted: 27 September 2019 / Published: 4 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vegetarian, Vegan Diets and Human Health)
Good sources of the long-chain n-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) include cold-water fish and seafood; however, vegan diets (VGNs) do not include animal-origin foods. Typically, US omnivores obtain enough dietary EPA and DHA, but unless VGNs consume algal n-3 supplements, they rely on endogenous production of long-chain fatty acids. VGN diets have several possible concerns: (1) VGNs have high intakes of linoleic acid (LA) as compared to omnivore/non-vegetarian diets. (2) High intakes of LA competitively interfere with the endogenous conversion of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to EPA and DHA. (3) High somatic levels of LA/low ALA indicate a decreased ALA conversion to EPA and DHA. (4) Some, not all VGNs meet the Dietary Reference Intake Adequate Intake (DRI-AI) for dietary ALA and (5) VGN diets are high in fiber, which possibly interferes with fat absorption. Consequently, health professionals and Registered Dietitians/Registered Dietitian Nutritionists working with VGNs need specific essential fatty acid diet guidelines. The purpose of this review was: (1) to suggest that VGNs have a DRI-AI Special Consideration requirement for ALA and LA based on VGN dietary and biochemical indicators of status and (2) to provide suggestions to ensure that VGNs receive adequate intakes of LA and ALA. View Full-Text
Keywords: n-3 fatty acid; n-6 fatty acid; alpha-linolenic acid; ALA; linoleic acid; LA; EPA; DHA; vegans n-3 fatty acid; n-6 fatty acid; alpha-linolenic acid; ALA; linoleic acid; LA; EPA; DHA; vegans
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Burns-Whitmore, B.; Froyen, E.; Heskey, C.; Parker, T.; San Pablo, G. Alpha-Linolenic and Linoleic Fatty Acids in the Vegan Diet: Do They Require Dietary Reference Intake/Adequate Intake Special Consideration? Nutrients 2019, 11, 2365.

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