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

Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2014, 6(5), 1850-1860;
Received: 20 March 2014 / Revised: 26 April 2014 / Accepted: 29 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Omega-3 Index; adiposity; fish oil; gender Omega-3 Index; adiposity; fish oil; gender
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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.

AMA Style

Howe PRC, Buckley JD, Murphy KJ, Pettman T, Milte C, Coates AM. Relationship between Erythrocyte Omega-3 Content and Obesity Is Gender Dependent. Nutrients. 2014; 6(5):1850-1860.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Howe, Peter R.C., Jonathan D. Buckley, Karen J. Murphy, Tahna Pettman, Catherine Milte, and Alison M. Coates. 2014. "Relationship between Erythrocyte Omega-3 Content and Obesity Is Gender Dependent" Nutrients 6, no. 5: 1850-1860.

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