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Red meat from animals offered a grass diet increases plasma and platelet n-3 PUFA in healthy consumers

  • A. J. McAfee (a1), E. M. McSorley (a1), G. J. Cuskelly (a2), A. M. Fearon (a3), B. W. Moss (a3), J. A. M. Beattie (a3), J. M. W. Wallace (a1), M. P. Bonham (a1) and J. J. Strain (a1)...


Red meat from grass-fed animals, compared with concentrate-fed animals, contains increased concentrations of long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFA. However, the effects of red meat consumption from grass-fed animals on consumer blood concentrations of LC n-3 PUFA are unknown. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects on plasma and platelet LC n-3 PUFA status of consuming red meat produced from either grass-fed animals or concentrate-fed animals. A randomised, double-blinded, dietary intervention study was carried out for 4 weeks on healthy subjects who replaced their habitual red meat intake with three portions per week of red meat (beef and lamb) from animals offered a finishing diet of either grass or concentrate (n 20 consumers). Plasma and platelet fatty acid composition, dietary intake, blood pressure, and serum lipids and lipoproteins were analysed at baseline and post-intervention. Dietary intakes of total n-3 PUFA, as well as plasma and platelet concentrations of LC n-3 PUFA, were significantly higher in those subjects who consumed red meat from grass-fed animals compared with those who consumed red meat from concentrate-fed animals (P < 0·05). No significant differences in concentrations of serum cholesterol, TAG or blood pressure were observed between groups. Consuming red meat from grass-fed animals compared with concentrate-fed animals as part of the habitual diet can significantly increase consumer plasma and platelet LC n-3 PUFA status. As a result, red meat from grass-fed animals may contribute to dietary intakes of LC n-3 PUFA in populations where red meat is habitually consumed.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr E. M. McSorley, fax +44 2870 324375, email


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