Effect of dietary α-linolenic acid on thrombotic risk factors in vegetarian men

Duo Li, Andrew Sinclair, Alisa Wilson, Sirithon Nakkote, Fiona Kelly, Lavinia Abedin, Neil Mann, Alan Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Vegetarians have lower platelet and plasma concentrations of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) than do ommvores. We recently showed that male vegetarians have higher platelet aggregability than do omnivores. Objective: We investigated whether male vegetarians (n = 17) who consumed an increased amount of dietary α-linolenic acid (ALA) showed any changes in their tissue profile of PUFAs, plasma thromboxane concentrations, platelet aggregability, or hemostatic factors. Design: During the study, all subjects maintained their habitual vegetarian diets except that a proportion of dietary fat was replaced with vegetable oils and margarines that were provided. Initially, all subjects consumed a low-ALA diet (containing safflower oil and safflower oil-based margarine) for 14 d; they then consumed either a moderate-ALA diet (containing canola oil and canola oil-based margarine) or a high-ALA diet (containing linseed oil and linseed oil-based margarine) for 28 d. Blood samples were collected at day 0 (baseline), day 14, and day 42. Results: Eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, total n-3 PUFAs, and the ratio of n-3 to n-6 PUFAs were significantly increased (P < 0.05), whereas the ratio of arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid was decreased (P < 0.05), in platelet phospholipids, plasma phospholipids, and triacylglycerols after either the moderate-ALA or high-ALA diet compared with the low-ALA diet. No significant differences were observed in thrombotic risk factors. Conclusion: ALA from vegetable oils (canola and linseed) has a beneficial effect on n-3 PUFA concentrations of platelet phospholipids and plasma lipids in vegetarian males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-882
Number of pages11
JournalThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • α-linolenic acid
  • Hemostatic factors
  • Linoleic acid
  • Lipoprotein lipids
  • Men
  • Plasma fatty acid
  • Platelet fatty acid
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Thrombosis
  • Vegetarian diet

Cite this