ISSFAL issues new guidelines on analysis of blood status in clinical research

Fatty Acid analysis

The International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) has released a statement, summarising factors that influence Omega-3 levels in humans, based on a recent systematic review published earlier this year (by the same authors) in the British Journal of Nutrition.  Factors include nonmodifiable such as, sex, genetics and age and also the modifiable, including form/bioavailability of supplements and lifestyle. 

It has been recognised for some time that many factors influence the Omega-3 status of individuals and studies involving supplementation with fish oils/Omega-3 fatty acids have shown differing, sometimes conflicting results, which at least in part, may be due to variations in the subjects fatty acid status.

The ISSFAL statement concludes with the recommendations that

  • In all research studies/trials subjects, Omega-3 status is actually measured
  • The influence of this on outcome measures is investigated
  • Published papers report full fatty acid profiles not just Omega-3 data

ISSFAL Statements and Recommendations are well respected for being independent, authoritative and clear and it is hoped that this latest one will also encourage ‘best practice’ in the design and interpretation of studies and trials.

Professor Barbara Meyer, one of the Statements authors said, “This statement highlights the importance of measuring blood omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in research. Researchers should consider the influence of fatty acid status (baseline, endpoint, change from baseline to endpoint) on the outcome variables, specifically for clinical trials, so we can attribute the change in the outcome variable to the change in Omega-3 levels.’

The Statement and Recommendation is now available online HERE, prior to publication in in the prestigious journal Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), the official journal of ISSFAL.

For more about fatty acid analyses at Mylnefield Lipid Analysis, visit our Services section. 


ISSFAL is an International Academic Scientific Society established in 1991, with members from more than 40 countries. ISSFAL members are scientists, medical professionals, educators, administrators, communicators and others with an interest in the health effects of dietary fats, oils and lipids; members include researchers carrying out studies on the health effects of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids as well as other lipids. ISSFAL is the foremost Academic Society dealing exclusively with the health impact of dietary lipids.

For further information about ISSFAL, contact Peter Clough, ISSFAL Honorary Secretary