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Table 1 Dietary sources of fatty acids

From: Fish oil: what the prescriber needs to know

Foods and ingredients Fatty acids contained in the foods Comments
Fish and/or fish oil Long chain n3 PUFAs such as EPA (C20:5n-3) and DHA (C22:6n-3) EPA and DHA are the beneficial n3 PUFAs
Flaxseed and canola oil The shorter chain n3 PUFA ALA ALA is converted to EPA or DHA after ingestion, but not very efficiently. However, it can still provide a useful dietary source of EPA and DHA precursor. Whether it has a direct beneficial effect is unknown
Olive and canola oil The MUFA OA (C18:1n-9) OA has a neutral effect on n-3 PUFA metabolism and incorporation into tissues; therefore, it provides a useful 'background' dietary fat for maximizing n3 tissue content from dietary n3 PUFAs
Sunflower, peanut, soybean and cottonseed oil The n6 PUFA LA (C18:2n-6) Intake in modern Western diets is generally high and far in excess of what is required to prevent deficiency. Dietary LA can decrease conversion of dietary ALA to tissue EPA and can decrease tissue levels of EPA and DHA. LA is a precursor of AA (C20:4n-6), which is a metabolic antagonist of EPA
  1. AA, arachidonic acid; ALA, α-linolenic acid; DHA, docosahexaenoic acid; EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid; LA, linoleic acid; MUFA, monounsaturated fatty acid; OA, oleic acid; PUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acid.