Fatty Acids Profile, Essential (Serum/Plasma)

Aids in identification of patients with essential fatty acid deficiency, evaluation of nutritional status, and diet monitoring.

AA/EPA Ratio

Optimal range: 0 - 5.88 Ratio

This test measures the ratio of arachidonic acid (AA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in plasma. This ratio of the principle omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is a measure of the body’s eicosanoid balance. Balancing these eicosanoids in the body is an excellent way
for managing heart disease and other chronic and inflammatory processes.



Optimal range: 30 - 100 qg/mL

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential n-3 fatty acid and must be obtained in the diet. Sources include green leafy vegetables, oily fish, flaxseed, soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and chia seeds. ALA has an 18-carbon backbone with 3 double bonds starting at the third carbon molecule (18:3n3). It is an important precursor to make eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), though these can also be obtained in the diet. Most dietary ALA is used to generate energy and only a small portion is converted to EPA and DHA.


Arachidonic Acid (AA)

Optimal range: 0 - 250 qg/mL

Arachidonic acid is an inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid. Our bodies produce this nutrient, and its excess may lead to inflammatory diseases and mood disorders.



Optimal range: 100 - 200 qg/mL

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid with 22 carbons and 6 double bonds (22:6n3). It can be obtained from the diet, supplemented, or created by conversion from DPA using elongase and desaturase enzymes. DHA is present in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and low levels of DHA can be found in meat and eggs. Both individually or in combination with EPA, DHA is widely supplemented due to the enormous amount of research available regarding its anti-inflammatory role in many clinical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, autoimmune disease, fetal development, visual disturbances, cancer, and metabolic syndrome.



Optimal range: 50 - 100 qg/mL

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is a Polyunsaturated Omega-3 Fatty Acid and is involved in the regulation of inflammatory processes and prevention of blood clots.

Omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) have a carbon–carbon double bond located three carbons from the methyl end of the chain. Omega-3s, sometimes referred to as “n-3s,” are present in certain foods such as flaxseed and fish, as well as dietary supplements such as fish oil. Several different omega-3s exist, but the majority of scientific research focuses on three: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA contains 18 carbon atoms, whereas EPA and DHA are considered “long-chain” (LC) omega-3s because EPA contains 20 carbons and DHA contains 22.


EPA/AA Ratio

Optimal range: 0.17 - 1 Ratio

The EPA:AA ratio is a valuable predictor of cardiovascular risk.

The EPA:AA ratio may be a marker of chronic inflammation, with a lower ratio corresponding to higher levels of inflammation. It is now well established that inflammation plays an important role in cardiovascular disease.


Linoleic Acid (LA)

Optimal range: 0 - 930 qg/mL

Linoleic acid is by far the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in most human tissues. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, and low levels indicate dietary insufficiency.


Monounsaturated Fatty Acid Index

Optimal range: 0 - 20 index

Monounsaturated Fatty Acid Index Includes:

  • Palmitoleic (16:1n7)
  • Oleic (18:1n9)
    • Beneficial fat that lowers heart disease risk
    • Enhances LDL apoB-100 clearance relative to saturated fat


Nervonic Acid, C24:1w9

Optimal range: 35 - 145 nmol/ML

Nervonic acid (NA) is an omega-9 MUFA with a 24-carbon backbone and one double bond (24:1n9). It is a very important fatty acid in the white matter of the brain and is responsible for nerve cell myelin biosynthesis. There are small amounts of NA in cooking fats, vegetable oils and borage oil. It can also be synthesized in the body by elongating oleic acid (which is essentially desaturated stearic acid). NA is essential for the growth and maintenance of the brain and peripheral nervous tissue enriched with sphingomyelin.


Omega-3 Fatty Acid Index

Optimal range: 4.5 - 30 index

The omega-3 index is defined as the RBC percentage sum of EPA+DHA, both of which are important anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. This index was first proposed in 2004 as a cardiovascular risk factor by Dr. Willian S. Harris and Dr. Clemons von Schacky as a way of assessing risk for coronary artery disease and related death. Since then, it has been repeatedly verified as an important cardiovascular biomarker, and studied in other diseases including obesity, mood disorder, and insulin resistance.

Low values of the index over a prolonged period of time indicate an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Dietary intervention to increase the omega-3 index should include oily fish, flax, walnut, and chia. Fish oil supplementation can also be considered.


Omega-3/Omega-6 Ratio

Optimal range: 0 - 0.07 Ratio

Omega-6 Fatty Acid Index

Optimal range: 0 - 39 index

Saturated Fatty Acid Index

Optimal range: 0 - 30 %

When assessing fatty acids in RBCs, this marker measures a weighted percentage of fatty acids taken up into the erythrocyte wall. The total saturated fatty acid percentage is a combined total weight percentage calculated by adding up each of the measured saturated fatty acids. It should be noted that when dealing with percentages, the amount of each fatty acid can influence the others. For example, fish oil supplementation may increase the overall omega-3 percentage, which then lowers the omega-6 percentage. Because some saturated fatty acids are beneficial, it is important to look at the levels of those specifically as well.

Fatty acids are essential to heart health. Balancing fatty acids can improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improve immune system function as well as reduce inflammation and rate of heart disease.

Saturated Fatty Acid Index Includes:

Myristic (14:0)

Palmitic (16:0)

Stearic (18:0)

    - May raise levels of LDL-C and increases heart disease risk.


Total w3

Optimal range: 0.12 - 0.55 mmol/L

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have been linked to healthy aging throughout our lifespan - from fetal development to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and used in cell membrane production, function, and overall gene expression. Most standard American diets are deficient in common n-3 food sources such as flax, oily fish, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Deficiencies in n-3 have been correlated with many clinical conditions such as neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, mood disorders, skin abnormalities, visual changes, and cancer.


Trans Fatty Acid Index

Optimal range: 0 - 0.5 %

Trans Fatty Acid Index Includes:

- Palmitelaidic (16:1n9t)
- Elaidic (18:1n9t)
- Linoelaidic (18:2n9t)

  • Markedly increases the risk of heart disease by raising LDL-C and lowering HDL-C2,3
  • Adversely impacts serum lipid levels by:2
  • Decreasing rate of LDL apoB-100 clearance.
  • Increasing rate of HDL apoA-I clearance


Unsaturated/Saturated Ratio

Optimal range: 2.25 - 10 Ratio

Unsaturated/Saturated Ratio Index Includes: 

- Omega 3 FA (EPA, DHA, ALA)

- Omega 6 FA (LA, AA, DA)

- Saturated FA (Myristic, Palmitic, Stearic)

-- Increasing polyunsaturated (PUFA) intake lowers LDL-C and decreases heart disease risk.

-- Increased intake of PUFA lowers LDL-C by increasing LDL receptor activity.


Vaccenic Acid, C18:1w7

Optimal range: 50 - 250 nmol/ML

Vaccenic acid (VA) is a monounsaturated omega-7 fatty acid (18:1n7). VA is a naturally occurring trans-fat unlike those produced industrially. The trans-configuration occurs around carbon 11, therefore VA is sometimes denoted as trans11-18:1n7. Ruminant animals produce vaccenic acid in a fermentation process in their microbiome. The dairy products (cheese, milk, butter) or meat obtained from these animals contain VA.