SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Supplements & Nutrition - North AmericaEU edition

News > Research

Study: omega-3 uptake higher in women; we must account for gender in research, GOED VP says

Post a commentBy Maggie Hennessy , 18-Aug-2014
Last updated on 18-Aug-2014 at 17:41 GMT

A study aiming to determine the effect of taking multivitamin and fish oil supplements together on the uptake of omega-3s into the blood cells found that gender contributes to uptake levels, with higher LC n-3 PUFA uptake in women.

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, used a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-groups clinical trial to examine the effects of fish oil and multivitamin supplementation on the incorporation of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids into red blood cells. For the study, 160 healthy adult humans were randomized to receive 6 g of fish oil, 6 g of fish oil plus a multivitamin, 3 g of fish oil plus a multivitamin or a placebo daily for 16 weeks.

Daily supplementation with 6 g of fish oil led to higher eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and a lower AA/EPA ratio, while docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) composition was unchanged following treatment. The long chain n-3 PUFA index and total n-3 fatty acid only increased after 6 g of fish oil was administered in combination with a daily multivitamin. As expected, 6 g of fish oil combined with a multivitamin was more effective at increasing n-3 fatty acid erythrocyte composition than 3 g of fish oil combined with a multivitamin. 

Notably, analysis by gender revealed that all treatments increased EPA incorporation in females while, in males, EPA was only significantly increased by the 6 g fish oil multivitamin combination. There was considerable individual variability in the red blood cell incorporation of EPA and DHA at endpoint. Gender contributed to a large proportion of this variability with females generally showing higher LC n-3 PUFA composition at the end.

“The present results corroborate prior research demonstrating a differential uptake of n-3 LCPUFA between men and women, with more effective uptake seen in women,” Harry B. Rice, PhD, vice president, regulatory & scientific affairs at the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s, told NutraIngredients-USA. “The results clearly suggest that gender needs to be accounted for when conducting omega-3 research.”

Indeed, the researchers noted that because some men may incorporate lower amounts of LC n-3 PUFA into red blood cells (despite sticking to intake guidelines), future dietary recommendations around LC n-3 PUFA intake may need to be gender specific.

“I've had people ask me if this means that some benefits may be seen in women, but not men,” Dr. Rice added. “I can't say for certain, but the evidence doesn't really point in that direction. For men, compared to women, the issue may boil down to getting additional EPA and DHA from food and supplements. Not only does future research need to account for potential gender differences, but recommended intakes may need to account for the same.”

Source: Nutrients
DOI: 10.3390/nu6051956
“Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Effects of Fish Oil and Multivitamin Supplementation on the Incorporation of n-3 and n-6 Fatty Acids into Red Blood Cells”
Authors: Andrew Pipingas, Robyn Cockerell, Natalie Grima, Andrew Sinclair, Con Stough, Andrew Scholey, Stephen Myers, Kevin Croft, Avni Sali, and Matthew P. Pase

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Related products

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Events from partners...