Background/Aims: Docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6, DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid required for the normal development of the mammalian nervous and visual system. DHA is provided by the mother during pregnancy and lactating period. Mother’s DHA supplementation during pregnancy, and even before pregnancy, has been suggested. DHA can be provided by marine oils, egg’s yolk phospholipids, single cell algae oils, the pure fatty acid, or by the ethyl ester derivative (DHA-EE). Another way to provide DHA can be by sn-2 docosahexaenyl monoacylglyceride (DHA-MG), obtained by the treatment of fish oil with stereospecific lipases. sn-2 Fatty acid monoacylglycerides can be more easily absorbed at the intestine than other fatty acid derivatives. Methods: Female rats fed with a synthetic, which provided essentially no DHA, received a 40-day supplementation of either DHA-EE or DHA-MG. Plasma and erythrocyte fatty acid composition were assessed by gas chromatography at day 0 and 40 of supplementation. Results: DHA-EE increased plasma and erythrocyte DHA by 15 and 11.9%, respectively, with no modification of arachidonic acid (AA) content. DHA-MG supplementation increased plasma and erythrocyte DHA by 24 and 23.8%, respectively, but reduced AA by 5.5 and 3%, respectively. Conclusions: We conclude that in the rat, DHA-MG supplementation allows a higher plasma and erythrocyte DHA content than DHA-EE with minor modification of AA content.

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