Changes in Erythrocyte Omega-3 Fatty Acids in German Employees upon Dietary Advice by Corporate Health

Dietrich Rein, Matthias Claus, Wolfgang Frosch, Winfried März, Stefan Lorkowski, Stefan Webendoerfer, Thorsten Schreiner
2020 Nutrients  
The erythrocyte ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) over total fatty acids, the omega-3 index (O3I), has been suggested as an overall health marker and to motivate corporate health recommendations. We set out to assess the O3I status in a working population, the differences between normal and rotating shift employees, the consumption of omega-3 rich food and whether recommendations to increase intake of omega-3 rich foods can improve the O3I. Methods: Employees
more » ... ethods: Employees registered for their occupational health check-up were offered to participate in a pre-post study at the Ludwigshafen (Germany) site including an assessment of their O3I at baseline and after 4 months (follow-up) and two subsequent food frequency questionnaires. For those with O3I below 8%, a recommendation was provided to increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acid rich food and to take advantage of the employees' catering service with its enhanced fatty seafood offer during the study period. Dietary intake of EPA and DHA, erythrocyte fatty acid profiles, clinical and lifestyle parameters were assessed. Results: In 500 employees (26.6% female, 21–64 years, median age: 47 years [IQR: 37–53]), at baseline the overall mean O3I was 4.1 ± 1.1% (99.6% of O3I assessed were below 8%), higher in women, in participants with "normal" body weight, upper employment grade, and non-smokers, but not different between regular and rotating shift workers. The three fifths of the cohort also participating in the follow-up increased their EPA and DHA intake by 0.1 g/d and their O3I by 0.5 percentage points. Conclusion: This study provides essential data on omega-3 erythrocyte concentrations in a clinically healthy German working population and the challenges of increasing the O3I with dietary recommendations even in study participants motivated to follow up on their omega-3 status.
doi:10.3390/nu12113267 pmid:33113826 fatcat:qh6lwlxe2bfcvdbpopqrx37c5m