Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids, Plasma
This test provides health information that can be used to understand whether a person has enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, if they have too much of one or if the ratio of fatty acids is not optimal.
Among their roles in the body, omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation. A common pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid is arachidonic acid. Two anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
This test is used in clinical settings to provide a baseline and monitoring of individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD). It’s used to identify people with low omega-3 levels who may be candidates for fatty acid supplementation, to monitor people on omega-3 supplementation to determine the effectiveness of the supplements, and to test for a potential role in risk reduction for non-CVD outcomes-aged related macular degeneration, RA, cancer, etc. (early data). Dietary changes and dietary supplements can change a person’s fatty acid profile and their disease risk.
- Arachidonic Acid
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
- EPA/Arachidonic Acid Ratio
- Omega-3 (EPA+DHA) Index
- Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio
Methodology: Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
Alternative names: Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs),EPA,Omega-3 Index,Omega-6/omega-3 Ratio,Phospholipid Omega-3 Fatty Acid,Arachidonic Acid/EPA Ratio,DHA,Arachidonic Acid (AA),Phospholipid Omega-6 Fatty Acid
Fasting: Fast for 10 to 12 hours, water only. No food.
Water: Drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated.
Medications: Take all medications as prescribed.
Dietary supplements: It’s recommended to avoid taking omega-3/omega-6 fatty acid dietary supplements (eg, fish oil), for two days prior to taking this test.
7-10 Business Days
Result turnaround times are estimates and not guaranteed. Due to factors outside of our control, such as weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing or equipment maintenance, our lab may require additional time to complete tests.
While both types of fat are important for overall health, having too much omega-6 fatty acids promotes inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease, age-related macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers. Chronic inflammation damages cells, weakens tissue and makes you age faster, a process called “inflammageing.” Inflammation is the link that ties together the most common diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and obesity. Chronic inflammation may also be a general mechanism for several neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, bipolar disorder, and multiple sclerosis.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are part of a category of fats called long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These fats are incorporated into cell membranes and are important for cellular communications, membrane fluidity and genetic expression.
The central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) is largely composed of fatty acids. Improving essential fatty acid status by eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement reduces the incidence of post-partum depression. Fatty-acid deficiencies have been implicated in many diseases, including obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Top Anti-inflammatory Foods, by Dr. John NeustadtOmega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution, Harvard School of Public Health
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