Food and Behaviour Research

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Docosahexaenoic acid-enriched egg consumption induces accretion of arachidonic acid in erythrocytes of elderly patients.

Payet, M., Esmail, M.H., Polichetti, E., Le Brun, G., Adjemout, L., Donnarel, G., Portugal, H., Pieroni, G. (2004) Br J Nutr.  91(5) 789-96. 

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Many studies in humans volunteers have shown that dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplied as triacylglycerol can increase DHA levels in blood lipids but often strongly decreases those of arachidonic acid (AA). The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of dietary supplementation with egg-yolk powder enriched in DHA, corresponding to the French recommended dietary allowance for DHA, on the blood lipid status of an elderly population. Institutionalised elderly individuals aged between 63 and 93 years consumed an egg product enriched in DHA (150 mg/d) once daily for 9 months. Plasma lipids and the fatty acid composition of erythrocyte membranes were determined every 3 months. The supplementation induced an increase in the PUFA content of plasma and erythrocyte membranes which was +14.5 and +25.3 %, respectively, at 9 months. This effect was mainly due to the level of DHA and, unexpectedly, to that of AA which continuously increased. This increase in AA was the result of an increased dietary intake (+50 mg/d) and very probably of an increased biosynthesis as demonstrated by the behaviour of di-homo-gamma-linolenic acid. The supplementation resulted in a blood PUFA status comparable with that of young healthy controls. The data are consistent with a strong regulatory action of the dietary treatment on the subjects' lipid metabolism.