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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 965417, 13 pages
Review Article

Nutritional Properties of Dietary Omega-3-Enriched Phospholipids

Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Cittadella Universitaria, S.S. 554, km. 4,500, Monserrato, 09042 Cagliari, Italy

Received 30 March 2013; Revised 4 June 2013; Accepted 7 June 2013

Academic Editor: Achille Cittadini

Copyright © 2013 Elisabetta Murru et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dietary fatty acids regulate several physiological functions. However, to exert their properties, they have to be present in the diet in an optimal balance. Particular attention has been focused on tissue highly polyunsaturated fatty acids (HPUFAs) n-6/n-3 ratio, influenced by the type and the esterified form of dietary fatty acids. Dietary EPA and DHA when esterified to phospholipids (PLs) are more efficiently incorporated into tissue PLs and seem to possess peculiar properties through specific mechanism(s) of action, such as the capacity to affect endocannabinoid biosynthesis at much lower doses than EPA and DHA in triglyceride form, probably because of the above mentioned higher incorporation into tissue PLs. Downregulation of the endocannabinoid system seems to mediate the positive effects exerted by omega-3-enriched PLs on several parameters of metabolic syndrome. PLs are one of the major dietary forms of EPA and DHA we are exposed to with the everyday diet; therefore, it is not surprising that it guarantees an effective EPA and DHA nutritional activity. Future studies should address whether EPA and DHA in PL form are also more effective than other formulations in ameliorating other pathological conditions where n-3 HPUFAs seem to exert beneficial activities such as cancer and psychiatric disorders.