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Evaluating Changes in Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake after Receiving Personal FADS1 Genetic Information: A Randomized Nutrigenetic Intervention

Roke K, Walton K, Klingel SL, Harnett A, Subedi S, Haines J, Mutch DM (2018) Nutrients.  2017 Mar 6;9(3).  pii: E240. doi: 10.3390/nu9030240 

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Nutrigenetics research is anticipated to lay the foundation for personalized dietary recommendations; however, it remains unclear if providing individuals with their personal genetic information changes dietary behaviors.

Our objective was to evaluate if providing information for a common variant in the fatty acid desaturase 1 (
FADS1) gene changed omega-3 fatty acid (FA) intake and blood levels in young female adults (18-25 years). Participants were randomized into Genetic (intervention) and Non-Genetic (control) groups, with measurements taken at Baseline and Final (12 weeks). Dietary intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was assessed using an omega-3 food frequency questionnaire. Red blood cell (RBC) FA content was quantified by gas chromatography. Implications of participation in a nutrigenetics study and awareness of omega-3 FAs were assessed with online questionnaires.

Upon completion of the study, EPA and DHA intake increased significantly (
p = 1.0 × 10-4) in all participants. This change was reflected by small increases in RBC %EPA. Participants in the Genetic group showed increased awareness of omega-3 terminology by the end of the study, reported that the dietary recommendations were more useful, and rated cost as a barrier to omega-3 consumption less often than those in the Non-Genetic group.

Providing participants 
FADS1 genetic information did not appear to influence omega-3 intake during the 12 weeks, but did change perceptions and behaviors related to omega-3 FAs in this timeframe.