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Suboptimal Plasma Long Chain n-3 Concentrations are Common among Adults in the United States, NHANES 2003–2004

Nutrition Science and Advocacy, DSM Nutritional Products, 45 Waterview Blvd, Parsippany, NJ 07054, USA
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Rm 167, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 314 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2015, 7(12), 10282-10289;
Received: 1 November 2015 / Revised: 27 November 2015 / Accepted: 2 December 2015 / Published: 9 December 2015
PDF [531 KB, uploaded 9 December 2015]


Population data on long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCn-3 PUFA) status from biomarkers of dietary intake is lacking. The objectives were to describe plasma LCn-3 PUFA concentrations and compare them to concentrations associated with cardiovascular health and dietary recommendations for two servings of seafood/week. Fasting plasma fatty acids were measured among 1386 subjects ≥20 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003–2004. LCn-3 concentrations represent the sum of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid relative to total fatty acids (expressed as a percentage). Mean LCn-3 PUFA concentration was 2.07% (95% CI 1.95–2.19). Overall, 80.6% of participants had LCn-3 below concentrations recommended for cardiovascular health. Hispanic participants were the most likely to have LCn-3 PUFA below recommended levels. Nearly all participants (95.7%) had LCn-3 below concentrations associated with cardiovascular protection. Older participants (≥60 years) had higher LCn-3 PUFA concentrations than those aged 20–39 years but not aged 40–59 years. LCn-3 PUFA concentrations were lower for Hispanic participants relative to non-Hispanic black participants. Suboptimal LCn-3 concentrations are common among U.S. adults. These findings highlight the need to increase LCn-3 intake among Americans. View Full-Text
Keywords: omega-3; polyunsaturated fatty acids; NHANES; adequacy; dietary intake omega-3; polyunsaturated fatty acids; NHANES; adequacy; dietary intake

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Murphy, R.A.; Yu, E.A.; Ciappio, E.D.; Mehta, S.; McBurney, M.I. Suboptimal Plasma Long Chain n-3 Concentrations are Common among Adults in the United States, NHANES 2003–2004. Nutrients 2015, 7, 10282-10289.

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