Monday, September 19, 2011

Alpha Linolenic Acid

What is it?: Alpha-linolenic acid is the main type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. It is similar to the omega-3 fatty acids that are in fish oil which are: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is not a usable form of omega-3 and the body must convert it into EPA or DHA.

Most Likely:

1) Alpha linolenic acid is poorly converted into EPA (1) (2) (6)

2) Alpha linolenic acid is not measurable converted into DHA (1) (2) (6)

1) High levels of consumed linolenic acid (EPA/DHA) compared to ALA reduce the amount of ALA converted into EPA/DHA (2) (6)

2) ALA does not provide the same level of protection against disease compared to EPA/DHA (4) (5)

1) Consumption of whole flax seed results in little ALA absorption; whereas ground flax seed results in high levels of absorption (3)

2) Consuming whole flax seed can lead to GI distress (3)

Studies that contributed:
1) Alpha-Linolenic Acid: Is It Essential to Cardiovascular Health?

2) α-Linolenic acid supplementation and conversion to n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in humans

3) Bioavailability of Alpha-Linolenic Acid in Subjects after Ingestion of Three Different Forms of Flaxseed

4) n–3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not α-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review

5) Dietary α-Linolenic Acid, EPA, and DHA Have Differential Effects on LDL Fatty Acid Composition but Similar Effects on Serum Lipid Profiles in Normolipidemic Humans

6) Decreasing Linoleic Acid with Constant α-Linolenic Acid in Dietary Fats Increases (n-3) Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Plasma Phospholipids in Healthy Men

Studies that didn't contribute (but still worth reading):
--Agonism with the omega-3 fatty acids a-linolenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid mediates phosphorylation of both the short and long isoforms of the human GPR120 receptor

--The use of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and rehabilitation in the treatment of back pain: effect on health-related quality of life

--Hypertension induced by ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid deficiency is alleviated by α-linolenic acid regardless of dietary source

--An α-linolenic acid-rich formula reduces oxidative stress and inflammation by regulating NF-κB in rats with TNBS-induced colitis

--Alpha-linolenic acid supplementation and resistance training in older adults

--Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in alpha-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalises hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistance in dyslipaemic rats

--Prospective studies of dietary alpha-linolenic acid intake and prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis

--Subchronic Alpha-Linolenic Acid Treatment Enhances Brain Plasticity and Exerts an Antidepressant Effect: A Versatile Potential Therapy for Stroke

--Differential effect of maternal diet supplementation with α-Linolenic adcid or n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on glial cell phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine fatty acid profile in neonate rat brains

--Dietary supplementation of alpha-linolenic acid in an enriched rapeseed oil diet protects from stroke

--Bioavailability of α-linolenic acid from flaxseed diets as a function of the age of the subject

--High habitual dietary α-linolenic acid intake is associated with decreased plasma soluble interleukin-6 receptor concentrations in male twins

--Dietary intake and status of n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in a population of fish-eating and non-fish-eating meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans and the precursor-product ratio of α-linolenic acid to long-chain n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: results from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort

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