This study examines to what extent plasma linoleic acid (LA) is modified by adiposity, and explores any association between plasma LA, demographics, dietary intakes, markers of metabolic health, and haplotypes of the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) 1/2 genes. A total of 820 participants with fasting blood samples from the Irish National Adult Nutrition Survey are studied. Plasma fatty acids are determined using GC-MS. Fifteen SNPs of FADS 1/2 genes are genotyped. Plasma LA decreases, while γ-linoleic acid and dihomo-γ-linoleic acid increases in overweight/obese participants (p ≤ 0.002). Participants in the highest quartile of plasma LA show decreased plasma markers of de novo lipogenesis, insulin resistance, and of inflammation (TNF-α, PAI-1) (p ≤ 0.005). Adiposity (waist circumference and body fat) is strongly inversely associated with plasma LA accounting for 11.8% of variance observed, which is followed by FADS1/2 haplotypes (3.9%), quantity and quality of carbohydrate intakes (3.8%), dietary PUFA intakes (3.7%), systolic blood pressure (3.6%), and age (3.2%). Plasma LA is inversely associated with adiposity, followed by haplotypes of FADS1/2 genes, carbohydrate intakes, and dietary PUFA intakes. The association observed between plasma LA and adiposity may be linked to decreased de novo lipogenesis, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
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