Dietary patterns and fatty acids levels of three European populations. Results from the IMMIDIET study

G. Pounis, M. de Lorgeril, P. Salen, F. Laporte, V. Krogh, A. Siani, J. Arnout, F.P. Cappuccio, M. van Dongen, M.B. Donati, G. de Gaetano, L. Iacoviello*, the European Collaborative Group of the IMMIDIET Project

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and aims: Differences in blood fatty acids (FAs) profile among populations with different lifestyle have partly been attributed to differences in food intake. A holistic approach in dietary guidance through dietary patterns is essential. This study aimed at evaluating the main plasma and red blood cell (RBC) FAs in three European populations and assessing the role of dietary patterns in explaining variation in their levels.

Methods: In the framework of the IMMIDIET Project, 1604 subjects (802 male-female pairs) aged 26-65 years were enrolled in Italy, Belgium and UK. Plasma and RBC FAs were measured. One year recall food frequency questionnaires were used to evaluate dietary habits of each individual.

Results: Italian cohort showed lower plasma and RBC n - 3 levels than participants of the other two populations (P <0.001). Both plasma and RBC arachidonic acid were higher in Italian cohort as compared to Belgian and English. Reduced rank regression analysis indicated two dietary patterns explaining 35% and 17% of the total variation of the sum of plasma and RBC n - 3, respectively. In a holistic dietary analysis, neither fish nor mollusks intake seemed to contribute to n - 3 variation as compared to vegetable oils and polyphenol-rich foods.

Conclusion: The Italian cohort presented significant lower plasma and RBC n - 3 FA levels compared to Belgians and English. A holistic approach in dietary analysis seemed to explain a relatively high proportion of plasma and RBC n - 3 FAs variability. Dietary pattern analysis may contribute to the study of the association of human diet with FAs levels. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-890
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • n-3 Fatty acids
  • n-6 Fatty acids
  • Dietary patterns
  • Plasma fatty acids
  • Plasma n-3 fatty acids
  • Plasma n-6 fatty acids
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Neurological disease
  • RISK


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