Whole Blood Omega 3 Fatty Acid Levels of HIV Exposed and HIV Unexposed 7 - 10 Years Old Children from a Low Income Country with High Burden of Under-Nutrition


Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential macronutrients that have several benefits which have been described for children’s health. Omega 3 LCPUFA metabolism has been reported to be altered in under-nourished and in HIV infected children. Therefore, we describe Eicosapentaenoic acid, Docosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid levels of HIV infected, HIV exposed uninfected and HIV unexposed uninfected school aged children from a low income country with a high burden of HIV infection and under-nutrition. This cross-sectional study recruited children 7 to 10 years old. Capillary blood was collected on filter paper and whole blood fatty acid analysis done using automated gas liquid chromatography. Kruskal Wallis and Median tests were used to compare the distribution and medians of the Omega 3 LCPUFA among the children according to HIV status, gender, age and nutritional status. A total of 318 children were recruited with 21 (7%) being HIV infected and 116 (37%) being HIV exposed uninfected. Chronic malnutrition was present in 12% of the children. The omega 3 fatty acids were expressed as percent weight of total fatty acids. The medians (interquartile range) for EPA, DPA and DHA for all the children were 0.19 (0.09), 0.79 (0.19) and 2.14 (0.54) %wt/wt respectively. EPA, DPA and DHA levels were not associated with the HIV status of the children. EPA levels were much lower in the 7-year-age group compared with the 8 and 9 - 10-year-age groups. Further studies assessing LCPUFA levels that include larger sample size, children from both urban and rural areas are recommended as this may assist in clearly defining the association of LCPUFA with HIV status in children from low income countries with high burden of under-nutrition.

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Kuona, P. , Mashavave, G. , Dzangare, J. , Munjoma, M. , Nathoo, K. and Stray-Pedersen, B. (2015) Whole Blood Omega 3 Fatty Acid Levels of HIV Exposed and HIV Unexposed 7 - 10 Years Old Children from a Low Income Country with High Burden of Under-Nutrition. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 6, 485-493. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.65050.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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