Diagnostics Tests

Fatty Acid Profile

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Clinical Information:

Essential fatty acids are integral component of cell membranes making them critical to proper cellular function and communication. Improper fat intake and impaired fat digestion, absorption, and/or metabolism may result to essential fatty acid deficiency.1

The Essential Fatty Acids Panel measures a wide array of omega acids (Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9, and saturated fatty acids) in relation to the total fatty acids. The ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 and Arachidonic Acid (AA) to Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) are included as inflammatory markers. EPA and AA are the key EFAs modulating inflammation. A high AA:EPA ratio indicates increased levels of inflammation in the body and has been detected in patients with insulin resistance, coronary artery disease and depression. Published data supports Omega-3 fatty acid levels as a modifiable risk factor for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.2

The analysis of fatty acids in red blood cells measures its 120-day lifespan in blood circulation. Unlike serum or plasma, this reveals the metabolic functions and dietary intake factors on a longer time scale that can be used as a biomarker for fatty acid metabolism, diet-disease correlation, and epidemiological studies.3

Clinical Use:

  • Evaluation of nutritional intake and essential fatty acids deficiency
  • Identifying fatty acid imbalance associated with immune and inflammatory conditions
  • Monitoring treatment of patients with impaired fat metabolism

Analytes Measured:

Essential Fatty Acids Panel in RBC
Omega-3 Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Eicosatrienoic acid
Total Omega 3
Omega-6 Linoleic acid (LA)
Gammalinolenic acid (GLA)
Eicosadienoic acid (EDA)
Dihomogammalinolenic acid (DGLA)
Arachidonic acid (AA)
Docosatetraenoic acid (DTA)
Total Omega 6
Omega-9 Trans-elaidic acid (TEA)
Cis oleic acid
Eicosenoic acid
Erucic acid
Nervonic acid
Total Omega 9
Saturated Fats Palmitic Acid
Stearic acid
Ratio AA/EPA

Specimen Needed: 6 ml blood, 3 ml packed RBC in EDTA-heparin vacutainer tubes

Turn Around Time of Results: 7 Working days

Analytical Method: Gas Chromatography

1 Kris M. Mogensen., Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency, Practical Gastroenterology, June 2017, pp 37-44
2 A.P. Simopoulos., The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy 56 (2002) 365–379, June 2002
3 Rodrigues, R.O., Costa, H., Lima, R., & Amaral, J.S. “Simple Methodology for the Quantitative Analysis of Fatty Acids in Human Red Blood Cells.” Chromatographia 78, no. 19-20 (2015)