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Precision Nutrition and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: A Case for Personalized Supplementation Approaches for the Prevention and Management of Human Diseases

Chilton, Floyd H., Dutta, Rahul, Reynolds, Lindsay M., Sergeant, Susan, Mathias, Rasika A., Seeds, Michael C.
Nutrients 2017 v.9 no.11
alpha-linolenic acid, biochemical pathways, biosynthesis, cannabinoids, carbon, dietary exposure, eicosanoids, enzymes, genes, genetic variation, human diseases, linoleic acid, metabolites, nutrition-genotype interaction, omega-3 fatty acids, pathophysiology, tissues
Background: Dietary essential omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3) 18 carbon (18C-) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA), can be converted (utilizing desaturase and elongase enzymes encoded by FADS and ELOVL genes) to biologically-active long chain (LC; >20)-PUFAs by numerous cells and tissues. These n-6 and n-3 LC-PUFAs and their metabolites (ex, eicosanoids and endocannabinoids) play critical signaling and structural roles in almost all physiologic and pathophysiologic processes. Methods: This review summarizes: (1) the biosynthesis, metabolism and roles of LC-PUFAs; (2) the potential impact of rapidly altering the intake of dietary LA and ALA; (3) the genetics and evolution of LC-PUFA biosynthesis; (4) Gene–diet interactions that may lead to excess levels of n-6 LC-PUFAs and deficiencies of n-3 LC-PUFAs; and (5) opportunities for precision nutrition approaches to personalize n-3 LC-PUFA supplementation for individuals and populations. Conclusions: The rapid nature of transitions in 18C-PUFA exposure together with the genetic variation in the LC-PUFA biosynthetic pathway found in different populations make mal-adaptations a likely outcome of our current nutritional environment. Understanding this genetic variation in the context of 18C-PUFA dietary exposure should enable the development of individualized n-3 LC-PUFA supplementation regimens to prevent and manage human disease.