, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 45-51

Contribution of Diet and Genes to Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Composition

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Abstract

Dietary recommendations for polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are based in part on results from epidemiologic studies to determine the level of dietary PUFA required to maintain optimal health. There are many challenges to estimating consumption of fatty acids through dietary surveys. PUFA measured in different biological samples have been used as biomarkers of fatty acid consumption. In addition to diet, variability in blood or tissue PUFA composition is explained in part by genetics. In particular, genetic variations in enzymes involved in the n-3/n-6 metabolic pathway have shown consistent and robust association with PUFA concentrations. Understanding the genetic architecture of fatty acid homeostasis and their relationship to the etiology of complex diseases may shed light on the mechanisms for the protective effects of fatty acids in humans.