European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 153–160 | Cite as

Low n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio, with fish- or flaxseed oil, in a high fat diet improves plasma lipids and beneficially alters tissue fatty acid composition in mice

  • Natalie D. Riediger
  • Rgia Othman
  • Evelyn Fitz
  • Grant N. Pierce
  • Miyoung Suh
  • Mohammed H. MoghadasianEmail author



Health benefits from low n-6:n-3 fatty acid (FA) ratio on cardiovascular risk have been shown. However, the impact of the source of n-3 FAs has not been fully investigated.


Our purpose was to investigate cardiovascular benefits of oils with a low ratio of n-6:n-3 FAs, but different sources of n-3 FAs in C57BL/6 mice.


Twenty-one mice were divided into 3 groups (n = 7) and fed a diet supplemented with either a fish or flaxseed oil-based ‘designer oils’ with an approximate n-6:n-3 FA ratio of 2/1 or with a safflower-oil-based diet with a ratio of 25/1, for 16 weeks. Plasma lipids and fatty acid profile of the liver tissue were characterized.


Compared to baseline, plasma triacylglycerol levels declined (>50%) in all groups by week 4. Plasma cholesterol levels were reduced in both fish and flax groups by 27% and 36%, respectively, as compared to controls at endpoint. The levels of EPA and DHA in liver phospholipids were significantly increased in both fish and flax groups as compared to the control group, with more profound increases in the fish group. Arachidonic acid levels were similarly decreased in the liver tissues from both fish and flax groups as compared to controls.


Our data suggest that health benefits may be achieved by lowering dietary n-6:n-3 FA even in a high fat diet medium.

Key words

eicosapentaenoic acid α-linolenic acid docosahexaenoic acid cardiovascular flaxseed oil fish oil mice 



NR is a recipient of an NSERC Graduate Scholarship. We would also like to thank Krystal Merrells and Amy Kroeker for their technical support. We acknowledge the support of the St. Boniface Hospital and Research Foundation as well.

Conflict of interest None


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Copyright information

© Spinger 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie D. Riediger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rgia Othman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Evelyn Fitz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Grant N. Pierce
    • 2
    • 4
  • Miyoung Suh
    • 1
  • Mohammed H. Moghadasian
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Dept. of Human Nutritional SciencesUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and MedicineSt. Boniface Hospital Research CentreWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.WinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Dept. of PhysiologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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