Current public advice from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) about essential fatty acids (EFA) has limited quantitative details about three processes:
(1) similar dynamics for n-3 linolenic and n-6 linoleic polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in maintaining 20- and 22-carbon n-3 and n-6 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) in tissues;
(2) different dynamics for tissue n-3 and n-6 HUFA during formation and action of hormone-like eicosanoids;
(3) simultaneous formation of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) from very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) formed from excess food energy and secreted by the liver.

This report reviews evidence that public health may benefit from advice to eat less n-6 nutrients, more n-3 nutrients and fewer calories per meal. Explicit data for linoleic acid fit an Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) near 0.1 percent of daily food energy (en%) meeting needs of half the individuals in a group, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) near 0.5 en% meeting needs of 97-98 percent of individuals, and a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) near 2 en% having no likely risk of adverse health effects.

Quantitative tools help design and monitor explicit interventions that could beneficially replace imprecise advice on "healthy foods" with explicit preventive nutrition.

PMID: 24794260

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