Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) have lipid-modifying and antiinflammatory properties. The effects of supplement mixtures of these fatty acids on plasma lipids and the fatty acid compositions of serum phospholipids have received little attention.

The objective was to determine the effects of different levels of GLA supplementation together with a constant intake of EPA plus DHA on the triacylglycerol-lowering effect of EPA plus DHA alone and on the fatty acid patterns (eicosanoid precursors) of serum phospholipids.

Thirty-one women were assigned to 1 of 4 groups, equalized on the basis of their fasting triacylglycerol concentrations. They received supplements providing 4 g EPA+DHA (4:0, EPA+DHA:GLA; control group), 4 g EPA+DHA plus 1 g GLA (4:1), 2 g GLA (4:2), or 4 g GLA (4:4) daily for 28 d. Plasma lipids and fatty acids of serum phospholipids were measured on days 0 and 28.

Plasma triacylglycerol concentrations were significantly lower on day 28 than on day 0 in the 4:0, 4:1, and 4:2 groups. LDL cholesterol decreased significantly (by 11.3%) in the 4:2 group. Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid increased significantly in serum phospholipids only in the 4:2 and 4:4 groups; however, total n-3 fatty acids increased in all 4 groups.

A mixture of 4 g EPA+DHA and 2 g GLA favorably altered blood lipid and fatty acid profiles in healthy women.
On the basis of calculated PROCAM values, the 4:2 group was estimated to have a 43% reduction in the 10-y risk of myocardial infarction.

PMID 12499320

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