Diet, Plasma, Erythrocytes, and Spermatozoa Fatty Acid Composition Changes in Young Vegan Men

Rodrigo Chamorro, María F. Gonzalez, Rocío Aliaga, Valentina Gengler, Constanza Balladares, Cynthia Barrera, Karla A. Bascuñan, Richard P. Bazinet, Rodrigo Valenzuela*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


There has been increasing interest in vegan diets, but how this dietary pattern regulates tissue fatty acids (FA), especially in men, is unclear. Our aim was to evaluate the effect of a vegan diet on plasma, erythrocyte, and spermatozoa FA composition in young men. Two groups consisting of 67 young (18–25 years old) men were studied. One group following an omnivore diet but did not consume fish, shellfish or other marine foods (control, n = 33), and another group following a vegan diet (vegan, n = 34) for at least 12 months were compared. Dietary intake was assessed via a food frequency questionnaire and a 24-h recall. FA composition was measured in plasma, erythrocyte phospholipids, and spermatozoa by gas–liquid chromatography. Compared to controls, the vegan group had higher reported intakes of carbohydrate, dietary fiber, vitamins (C, E, K, and folate), and minerals (copper, potassium) but lower intakes of cholesterol, trans FA, vitamins B6, D, and B12, and minerals (calcium, iron, and zinc). Vegan's reported a lower saturated FA and not arachidonic acid intake, both groups did not intake eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), but vegan's showed a higher alpha linolenic acid ALA intake. Vegans had higher plasma, erythrocyte phospholipid, and spermatozoa ALA, but lower levels of other n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), especially DHA. Vegans were characterized by higher ALA, but lower levels of other n-3 PUFA, especially DHA in plasma, erythrocytes, and spermatozoids. The biological significance of these findings requires further study.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)639-648
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 11.2020


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