Posted on 01/07/2011 at 12:00:42 PM by Suzanne PriceIn anticipation of the EB 2011 Pre-Conference Session on April 8 on the topic of Stearidonic Acid, ASN interviewed speaker Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, MD, who is Director of Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University. We are truly excited for this day-long forum which will feature emerging science on the topic of omega-3s.
How long have you been doing research on omega-3s?
Richard: For the last 15 years, my laboratory has been studying mechanisms whereby omega-3 fatty acids are metabolized and delivered into cells. We described they do not enter into “classical” pathways such as the LDL and other receptors, but rather through non-receptor mediated pathways. A primary focus now is to delineate how dietary omega-3 fatty acids relate on the molecular level to their potential beneficial effects in terms of prevention of cardiovascular disease and as anti-inflammatory agents.
I have chaired two previous symposiums on omega-3 fatty acids -- the purpose of which was to gather the existing evidence, determine the strongest areas of research and make recommendations for future research.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Recommendations for Therapeutics and Prevention Symposium, 2005
- Beyond Cholesterol: Prevention and Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease with n-3 Fatty Acids, 2008
Richard: There are different types of omega-3 fatty acids, due to differing chemical structures. Obtaining a better understanding of the metabolism and mechanisms of action of different omega-3 fatty acids is an emerging area of research. Additional research will help us understand the differences between DHA and EPA and the role of stearidonic acid (SDA) for health.
What are the benefits of SDA? What are the benefits of EPA?
Richard: SDA has a very efficient conversion into EPA. We still don't know whether SDA has specific benefits of its own or does it serve mainly as a precursor for EPA.
EPA is known to have protective effects on cardiovascular disease. It is also a major fatty acid used in a number of trials shown to help improve mental health.
How would you describe the current awareness of SDA? Is it growing?
Richard: It is just beginning, and is not appreciated as much as it could be as a source of EPA. It may help close the omega-3 intake gap, which would be significant.
Finally, what is one takeaway for ASN members and other health professionals who are interested in SDA and EPA and their health benefits?
Richard: I would encourage those interested in omega-3 research and applications to attend the pre-conference symposium: Heart Healthy Omega-3s for Food: Stearidonic Acid (SDA) as a Sustainable Choice at EB 2011. It will provide an appreciation for, and update on, the current status of the benefits and effects of omega-3 fatty acids and a better understanding of omega-3 fatty acid sources in food.