n-3 and n-6 PUFAs Intakes, Ratios and Health Effects

In collaboration with the Nutrient Intake Optimisation Task Force

Intake levels of total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in adults are available but information on intake of specific n-3 and n-6 PUFA in vulnerable populations is limited or sometimes lacking. This activity has investigated the adequacy of current n-3 and n-6 PUFA intake in several vulnerable target groups, namely infants, children, adolescents, pregnant / lactating women and the elderly by comparing intake data with current recommendations. Based on this review, other knowledge gaps are being identified and addressed.

This expert group is developing a series of three manuscripts. In the first publication, the expert group investigated current intake of total and specific n-3 and n-6 PUFA in European diets for the identified vulnerable groups (I. Sioen et al., 2017). Along with this, the latest nutritional recommendations and their scientific criteria were examined. In addition, it assessed how different food forms and supplements can contribute to the intake of n-3 and n-6 PUFA. In the second publication, the intention is to describe the relevance of n-3 and n-6 PUFA intake indexes and ratios as well as comparing them to absolute intake levels. In the third manuscript, a systematic review will be performed on arachidonic acid and its health effects.

Expected Output
Ultimately, the project will analyse and evaluate n-3 and n-6 PUFA intake, highlighting any remaining knowledge gaps. Actions will be proposed where serious gaps between nutrient intake and recommendations are identified. Manuscripts 2 and 3 will tackle important identified knowledge gaps related to health effects of arachidonic acid and the relevance of n-3 and n-6 PUFA intake ratios versus absolute amounts.