The significance of arachidonic acid in hunter-gatherer diets: Implications for the contemporary western diet

Andrew Sinclair, Kerin O'Dea

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Investigations of the Greenland Eskimo diet and disease patterns has led to important discoveries on the role of n‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the regulation of plasma lipid levels and the production of eicosanoids derived from the n‐6 PUFA, arachidonic acid (AA). As a result of these findings, recommendations have been made for western countries to increase their dietary intake of n‐3 PUFA, with the aim being to decrease the tissue level of AA and to increase that of the n‐3 PUFA. Studies on traditional foods in the hunter‐gatherer diet eaten by Australia Aborigines have shown that both AA and the n‐3 PUFA were significant components of the dietary fatty acids and that tissue fatty acid patterns reflected dietary intake. The significance of the raised AA levels in plasma and tissue phospholipids which occurred in association with raised n‐3 PUFA levels is discussed in relation to current theories. It is argued that these patty acid patterns are unlikely to have been harmful to health. The fatty acid profiles of wild animals from other countries does not differ greatly from those analysed

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-157
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Food Lipids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes

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