Blood Fatty Acid Profiles: New Biomarkers for Cardiometabolic Disease Risk

Kristina H. Jackson, William S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Fatty acid (FA) profiles in different blood compartments are reflections of both diet and metabolism, and some FA levels are related to disease risk. Recent Findings: Perhaps the most studied FA—disease relationship is between long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Despite null results from recent large omega-3 FA supplementation trials, new research continues to support past studies showing that blood levels of EPA + DHA are inversely related to risk for total mortality and fatal CVD events. But blood levels of other FAs may also be useful markers of risk for a variety of diseases. The essential omega-6 FA linoleic acid is inversely associated with risk for developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), whereas risk for T2D is directly related to biomarkers of de novo lipogenesis (palmitic and palmitoleic acids). Levels of industrially produced trans FAs have been linked to higher risk for CVD. Summary: Thus, blood levels of several individual FAs are emerging as modifiable biomarkers for risk of major chronic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalCurrent atherosclerosis reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Fatty acids
  • Mortality
  • Omega-3
  • Omega-6
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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