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Browsing by Author "Tilli, Venla"

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  • Tilli, Venla (2023)
    Background: Previous studies have measured low levels of EPA and DHA in vegetarian and vegan participants, and the clinical significance of low EPA and DHA levels on children’s growth and devel-opment is yet to be decided. Especially DHA is crucial element in the development of retina, brain, and immune systems during childhood. As a response to climate change and burden of disease, more plant-based diets such as vegetarian and vegan diets are gaining popularity and number of people following such diets is expected to rise. Objectives: This thesis aims to investigate serum fatty acid composition in vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore children, and to explore the fatty acid data to find fatty acid components to be associated with the diets. Methods: Current data is from a cross-sectional study called MIRA2. Serum samples of 2−7-years old Finnish children (26 vegan, 17 vege-tarian, 22 omnivore) from the city of Helsinki were processed to form fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs), which were analysed using gas-liquid chromatograph. Differences in fatty acid proportions between diet groups were investigated using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Kruskal.Wallis’ test. Principal component analysis was carried out to form fatty acid components. Results: Vegans had more polyunsaturated fatty acids and n-6 fatty acids compared to omnivores. Omnivores had more saturated fatty acids than vegans, but lower n-6/n-3 ratio. Vegans had relatively less DHA compared to the other diet groups. Four fatty acid components were formed, but only one of the components had statistical significance between the groups and could be used to deviate vegans from omnivores. Conclusions: The results confirm that vegans measure low levels of DHA, and more longitudinal studies are needed to ensure the adequacy of vegan (and vegetarian) diets for growth and develop-ment in children. Overall, vegans had more favourable fatty acid composition compared to omni-vores.