AbstractAlthough there are many reports in the literature of the normal levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in human plasma phospholipids, there appear to be no studies in which populations from widely different geographical locations have been investigated in the same laboratory using the same analytical rechniques. We now report EFA plasma phospholipid levels in normal individuals from different locations in Canada, the USA, England, Scotland, Ireland, Japan and Zimbabwe. The most striking observation was the consistency of EFA levels irrespective of geographical location or diet. There were no significant differences between most populations in dihomogammalinolenic acid and only modest differences in linoleic, arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acids. These observations suggest that plasma phospholipid EFA patterns are regulated according to the physiological needs of thc organism and do not simply respond passively to dietary fatty acid intakes. The only exception to the general rule among the populations we studied was the Indian community on Vancouver Island. This Indian group whether on or off their traditional salmon-rich diet, had phospholipid EFA patterns quite different from any other group. Their EFA levels were consistent with slow or absent 6-desaturation.
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