British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

UK Food Standards Agency Workshop Report: the effects of the dietary n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio on cardiovascular health

John C. Stanleya1a2 c1, Rachel L. Elsoma3, Philip C. Caldera4, Bruce A. Griffina5, William S. Harrisa6, Susan A. Jebba7, Julie A. Lovegrovea8, Carmel S. Moorea7, Rudolph A. Riemersmaa9 and Tom A. B. Sandersa10

a1 Trinity College and St Hugh's College, Oxford, UK

a2 Lincoln Edge Nutrition, The Cottage, Sleaford Road, Wellingore, Lincoln LN5 0HR, UK

a3 Nutrition Division, Food Standards Agency, London, UK

a4 Institute of Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

a5 Centre for Nutrition and Food Safety, School of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

a6 Institute of Nutrition and Metabolic Disease, South Dakota Health Research Foundation, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

a7 MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge, UK

a8 Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK

a9 Centre for Cardiovascular Science, The Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

a10 Nutritional Sciences Division, King's College London, London, UK


This report summarises a workshop convened by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) on 11 September 2006 to review the results of three FSA-funded studies and other recent research on effects of the dietary n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio on cardiovascular health. The objective of this workshop was to reach a clear conclusion on whether or not it was worth funding any further research in this area. On the basis of this review of the experimental evidence and on theoretical grounds, it was concluded that the n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio is not a useful concept and that it distracts attention away from increasing absolute intakes of long-chain n-3 fatty acids which have been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. Other markers of fatty acid intake, that more closely relate to physiological function, may be more useful.

(Received September 03 2007)

(Revised September 10 2007)

(Accepted September 11 2007)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr J. C. Stanley, fax+44 1865 279911, email