Patients with anorexia nervosa demonstrate deficiencies of selected essential fatty acids, compensatory changes in nonessential fatty acids and decreased fluidity of plasma lipids

R. T. Holman, C. E. Adams, R. A. Nelson, S. J.E. Grater, J. A. Jaskiewicz, S. B. Johnson, J. W. Erdman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the essential fatty acid status of patients with anorexia nervosa. Blood was collected from eight fasting female anorexia netrosa patients with a mean of 81% ideal body weight. Fatty acid composition of phospholipids, nonesterified fatty acids, triglycerides and cholesteryl esters of plasma were determined by capillary gas chromatography to indicate polyunsaturated fatty acids status compared with 19 healthy female adults <25 y old. Subjects with anorexia nervosa showed polyunsaturated fatty acid deficiencies in plasma phospholipids different from simple nutritional essential fatty acid deficiency or chronic malnutrition. The phospholipid profile showed significantly lower (n-6) and (n-3) elongation and desaturation products, and elevated short-chain saturated, short-chain monounsaturated, branched-chain and odd-chain fatty acids. These elevations indicate enhancement of biosynthesis of alternative fatty-acids that only partially compensated for the loss of polyunsaturated fatty acids in providing membrane 'fluidity.' Calculated mean melting point of the fatty acids of phospholipids in patients with anorexia nervosa was elevated 7.7°C above normal values. These results demonstrate that patients with anorexia nervosa have deficiencies of selected essential fatty acids, compensatory changes in nonessential fatty acids and decreased fluidity of plasma lipids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-907
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume125
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

Keywords

  • essential fatty acids
  • humans
  • membrane fluidity
  • plasma phospholipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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