Food and Behaviour Research

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Dietary linoleic acid has no effect on arachidonic acid, but increases n-6 eicosadienoic acid, and lowers dihomo-gamma-linolenic and eicosapentaenoic acid in plasma of adult men.

Angela Liou Y, Innis SM. (2009) Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 80(4) 201-6. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2009.02.003. Epub 2009 Apr 8. 

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High intakes of linoleic acid (LA,18:2n-6) have raised concern due to possible increase in arachidonic acid (ARA, 20:4n-6) synthesis, and inhibition of alpha linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3) desaturation to eicosapentaenoic (EPA, 20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3).

In healthy men, 10.5% energy compared to 3.8% energy LA with 1% energy ALA increased plasma phospholipid LA and 20:2n-6, the elongation product of LA, and decreased EPA, with no change in ARA.

However, LA was inversely related to ARA at both 10.5% energy and 3.8% energy LA, (r=-0.761, r=-0.817, p

Our results confirm LA requirements for ARA synthesis is low, <3.8% energy, and they suggest current LA intakes saturate Delta-6 desaturation and adversely affect n-3 fatty acid metabolism. Factors other than n-6 fatty acid intake are important modifiers of plasma ARA.