Guidelines for suggested intake of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are limited in youth and rely primarily on age. However, body weight varies considerably within age classifications. The current analyses examined effects of body weight and body mass index (BMI) on fatty acid accumulation in 64 youth (7-14 years) with a diagnosed mood disorder in a double-blind randomized-controlled trial (2000mg ω-3 supplements or a control capsule) across 12 weeks. Weight and height were measured at the first study visit and EPA and DHA levels were determined using fasting blood samples obtained at both the first and end-of-study visits. In the ω-3 supplementation group, higher baseline body weight predicted less plasma accumulation of both EPA [B = -0.047, (95% CI = -0.077; -0.017), β = -0.54, p = 0.003] and DHA [B = -0.02, (95% CI = -0.034; -0.007), β = -0.52, p = 0.004]. Similarly, higher BMI percentile as well as BMI category (underweight, normal weight, overweight/obese) predicted less accumulation of EPA and DHA (ps≤0.01). Adherence to supplementation was negatively correlated with BMI percentile [B = -0.002 (95% CI = -0.004; 0.00), β = -0.44, p = 0.019], but did not meaningfully affect observed associations. As intended, the control supplement exerted no significant effect on plasma levels of relevant fatty acids regardless of youth body parameters. These data show strong linear relationships of both absolute body weight and BMI percentile with ω-3 PUFA accumulation in youth. A dose-response effect was observed across the BMI spectrum. Given increasing variability in weight within BMI percentile ranges as youth age, dosing based on absolute weight should be considered. Moreover, effects of weight should be incorporated into statistical models in studies examining clinical effects of ω-3 PUFAs in youth as well as adults, as weight-related differences in effects may contribute meaningfully to inconsistencies in the current literature.

PMID: 28379964

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