Food and Behaviour Research

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DHA retroconversion revisited: dietary DHA spares endogenous EPA

Brenna JT (2019) Am J Clin Nutr.  2019 June, editorial; 

Web URL: Read the editorial here


The rise in circulating EPA (20:5n-3) upon provision of supplemental DHA (22:6n-3) has long been assumed to be due to retroconversion—the synthesis of EPA from DHA. In their contribution to the Journal, “Compound-specific isotope analysis reveals no retroconversion of DHA to EPA but substantial conversion of EPA to DHA following supplementation: a randomized control trial,” Richard Bazinet, Adam Metherel, and coworkers at the University of Toronto elegantly show that it is instead the sparing of EPA from metabolism into other products that causes the observed rise in EPA (20:5n-3) (1). Exploiting differences in natural carbon isotope ratios and high-precision measurements, these authors show that EPA is converted to DHA but not the other way round...[sign in required on website to read full article]