Associations between erythrocyte fatty acids and Mediterranean diet in Greek volunteers

Paraskevi Detopoulou, Elizabeth Fragopoulou, Renata Alepoudea, Tzortzis Nomikos, Nikos Kalogeropoulos, Smaragdi Antonopoulou



Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate the relation of erythrocyte fatty acids with the Mediterranean diet and traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
Patients and methods: Healthy volunteers were recruited (n=106) and erythrocyte fatty acid composition was determined by gas-liquid chromatography. Dietary variables were collected (FFQ and 24h recalls) and DXA body composition analysis was performed.
Results: In multiple linear regression models eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosahexaenoic (DHA) and the Omega-3 index (% EPA+DHA), were positively related with age and the MedDietScore independent of sex, abdominal adiposity and energy/BMR. Moreover, EPA and DHA were positively related to fish consumption (r=0.438, P<0.001 and r=0.518, P<0.001, correspondingly) and the intake of representative food groups of the Mediterranean diet (i.e. legumes, fruits and vegetables). Oleic acid was positively related to HDL-cholesterol (r=0.309, P=0.002), LDL-cholesterol (r=0.243, P=0.01) and triacylglycerols (r=0.243, P=0.01). Saturated fatty acids were positively associated with insulin (r=0.196, P=0.05).
Conclusion: The results of our study generate hypothesis for candidate fatty acids to serve as targets in the diet-disease interplay.

Keywords: Diet, Mediterranean diet, fatty acids, erythrocytes, omega-3 fatty acids