Fatty Acids and Omega

If you suffer from a dietary fatty acid deficiency, you can experience different debilitating effects. If that's the case, consider ordering fatty acid lab tests with Ulta Lab Tests today. We offer a highly accurate and reliable test to screen for abnormal levels of fatty acids along with other dietary deficiencies. 

At Ulta lab tests, we offer the omega-3 and omega-6 test to screen and diagnose deficiencies in the two forms of fatty acids that are considered essential to humans. These are Omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linolenic acid) and Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid).

SEE BELOW THE LIST OF TESTS FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT Lab Tests for Identifying Omega and Fatty Acids Deficiency


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Clinical Significance

Peroxisomes play a vital role in several metabolic pathways, including the synthesis of plasmalogens and bile acids. They are also involved in the catabolism of Very Long Chain Fatty Acids (VLCFAs), phytanic acid, and pristanic acid. Defects in these pathways usually result in the accumulation in tissues and body fluids of one or more metabolites derived from the blocked metabolic steps. Specific accumulations are used for the differential biochemical diagnosis of numerous peroxisomal disorders. These disorders include (A) Zellweger spectrum disorders of peroxisomal biogenesis, (B) X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) and its adult form X-linked adrenomyeloneuropathy (X-AMN), (C) Refsum disease (Phytanoyl-CoA hydroxylase Deficiency), and (D) 2-methylacyl-CoA racemase deficiency.

Patient Preparation 

Avoid alcohol for 24 hours prior to collection. Draw sample in the morning following overnight fasting (12-14 hours)


Fatty Acid Profile, Comprehensive


Fatty Acid Profile, Essential (C12-C22)






A Complete Blood Count (CBC) Panel is used as a screening test for various disease states including anemia, leukemia, and inflammatory processes.

A CBC blood test includes the following biomarkers: WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, Platelet count, Neutrophils, Lymphs, Monocytes, Eos, Basos, Neutrophils (Absolute), Lymphs (Absolute), Monocytes(Absolute), Eos (Absolute), Basos (Absolute), Immature Granulocytes, Immature Grans (Abs)

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported.

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
     
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
>1000 
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
     
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel


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Copper is an essential element that is a cofactor of many enzymes. Copper metabolism is disturbed in Wilson's disease, Menkes disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, and Indian childhood cirrhosis. Copper concentrations increase in acute phase reactions and during the third trimester of pregnancy. Copper concentrations are decreased with nephrosis, malabsorption, and malnutrition. Copper concentrations are also useful to monitor patients, especially preterm newborns, on nutritional supplementation. Results of copper are often interpreted together with ceruloplasmin.

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Useful in the diagnosis of hypochromic, microcytic anemias. Decreased in iron deficiency anemia and increased in iron overload.


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Folic acid deficiency is common in pregnant women, alcoholics, in patients whose diets do not include raw fruits and vegetables, and in people with structural damage to the small intestine. The most reliable and direct method of diagnosing folate deficiency is the determination of folate levels in both erythrocytes and serum. Low folic acid levels, however, can also be the result of a primary vitamin B12 deficiency that decreases the ability of cells to take up folic acid

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Elevated levels of homocysteine are observed in patients at risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.

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Iodine is an essential element that is required for thyroid hormone production. The measurement of iodine serves as an index of adequate dietary intake.

Serum iron quantification is useful in confirming the diagnosis of iron-deficiency anemia or hemochromatosis. The measurement of total iron binding in the same specimen may facilitate the clinician''s ability to distinguish between low serum iron levels caused by iron deficiency from those related to inflammatory neoplastic disorders. The assay for iron measures the amount of iron which is bound to transferrin. The total iron binding capacity (TIBC) measures the amount of iron that would appear in blood if all the transferrin were saturated with iron. It is an indirect measurement of transferri

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Prealbumin is decreased in protein-calorie malnutrition, liver disease, and acute inflammation. It may be used as an indicator of nutritional requirements and response to therapy during total parenteral nutrition and as a biochemical marker of nutritional adequacy in premature infants.

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Selenium is an element of parental nutrition. Monitoring the selenium concentrations is useful in assessing parental nutrition, especially recent intake. Concentrations are also monitored in children with proprionic acidemia who require special diets with supplements.

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Transferrin is a direct measure of the iron binding capacity. Transferrin is thus useful in assessing iron balance. Iron deficiency and overload are often evaluated with complementary laboratory tests.

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Vitamin A is critical for vision, growth, and many cell functions. High concentrations of vitamin A are seen with renal failure, but this is not associated with toxicity, and excessive ingestion. High concentrations are associated with bone fractures. Low concentrations of vitamin A are consistent with fat malabsorption and rarely due to inadequate diet. Vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotene are always extracted and detected simultaneously. This is a free vitamin A (retinol

Vitamin B1 deficiency is most often associated with alcoholism, chronic illness and following gastric by-pass surgery. Prolonged deficiency causes beriberi. Plasma vitamin B1 is useful in evaluating nutritional assessment and compliance, while whole blood vitamin B1 is useful in evaluating body stores.

Vitamin B12 is decreased in pernicious anemia, total or partial gastrectomy, malabsorption and certain congenital and biochemical disorders


Vitamin B2 is involved in metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. The clinical manifestations of deficiency are non-specific. Clinical manifestations include mucocutaneous lesions of the mouth and skin, corneal vascularization, anemia, and personality changes.


While dietary fatty acid deficiency is rare, people who suffer from it could experience different debilitating effects. However, it’s quite difficult to establish whether you have it or not. After all, the symptoms could be an indication of other conditions.

The chances are that if you are on this page, you have good reason to suspect a possible fatty acid dietary deficiency. If that’s the case, consider ordering fatty acid lab tests with Ulta Lab Tests today. We offer a highly accurate and reliable test to screen for abnormal levels of fatty acids along with other dietary deficiencies. But first, you may want to understand what this condition is all about and whether you have a reason to be concerned.

Keep reading to learn more about what a dietary fatty acid deficiency is. We will cover a general overview of dietary fatty acid deficiency and the test that can be used to diagnose or deny the condition.

What is a Fatty Acid?

Fatty acids are simply energy storage units that usually makeup components of cell membranes. They are an important composition of:

  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Tissue cells
  • Plasma phosphatidylcholine.

The body usually acquires fatty acids through the consumption of dietary fat. It’s nearly impossible for the body to produce fatty acids on its own, which is why it’s integral for individuals to ensure that they are consuming enough fatty acids in their diet. There are only two forms of fatty acids that are considered essential to humans. These are:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid (alpha linolenic acid)
  • Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid)

Other fatty acids are generally considered conditionally essential, meaning they might be essential for people with specific developmental conditions or diseases.

Why are Essential Fatty Acids Important?

Essential fatty acids are essential to your health. Your body needs an adequate intake of enough dietary fats to perform a number of vital functions. Some of these functions are:

  • Joint and bone health
  • Energy storage
  • Neurological health
  • Hair, skin, and eye health
  • Mental health
  • Minimizing risk factors for heart disease

Of course, there are many other factors than the one listed here. Still, a proper intake of dietary fatty acids isn't simply supplementary to your health. It’s absolutely necessary.

What Is Fatty Acid and Omega Deficiency?

Dietary fatty acids deficiency is also commonly referred to as essential fatty acids deficiency (EFAD). And just as the names indicate, it’s a lack of adequate fatty acid levels in the body. In many cases, it means an inadequacy in terms of linoleic acid or alpha-linolenic acid levels in the body.

It’s quite a rare condition, both in adults and children. Fortunately, EFAD is fairly uncommon in the US and can be caused by an inadequate intake of dietary fats. It’s a lot more common to have a deficiency in DHA and EPA, which are Omega-3 fatty acids.

What are the Main Causes of Deficiency in Fatty Acids?

The main cause for fatty acid deficiency is when an individual lacks adequate dietary fat intake. Adequate dietary fat intake can be ascertained by making sure you eat the proper amounts of the following foods:

  • Nuts
  • Cooking oils
  • Fish oil
  • Seeds
  • Animal fat

Eating whole foods is a great way to ensure that you’re consuming dietary fats. However, many individuals take Omega-3 supplements like vegan omega-3 supplements or fish oil to boost their otherwise inadequate dietary fat intake. Studies even show that there’s a link between reduced heart disease deaths and the higher omega-3 intake.

What Are the Risk Factors for Omega and Fatty Acids Deficiency?

The US has a great number of fatty food sources, and EFAD is quite uncommon. Still, there are individuals who develop this condition through fat-free or low-fat diets. For these cases, raising the dietary fat intake might be enough to regulate the essential fatty acid levels.

People at the end-stage of liver disease might also suffer from EFAD. This condition is part of a host of other problems related to malnutrition that people suffering from liver disease may experience. There are also populations that are specifically at risk for developing EFAD, both due to environmental or developmental conditions. The populations might suffer from conditions like:

  • Fat malabsorption conditions
  • Chronic malnutrition
  • Sjogren-Larsson syndrome
  • Acrodermatitis enteropathica

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Deficiency in Dietary Fatty Acids?

Essential fatty acid deficiency could be manifested through several signs and symptoms. Some of these include:

  • Anemia
  • Scaly, dry rash
  • Alopecia
  • Increased frequency of stools
  • Slowed growth rate

Which Lab Tests Can Diagnose, Screen, and Monitor Deficiencies in Dietary Fatty Acids?

At Ulta lab tests, we offer an omega-3 and omega-6 test to screen and diagnose any deficiencies in omega-3 and omega-6. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid lab test is conducted as outlined below:

  • The patient has their blood drawn to provide a plasma sample
  • The plasma will then be tested for omega-3 and omega-6 levels
  • Once results are available, they are posted to the patient’s secure online patient portal

Why Choose Ulta Lab Tests for Fatty Acids and Omega Deficiency Lab Testing?

We offer reliable and highly accurate lab tests, enabling you to make informed decisions about your health. Below are some of the things you will love about Ulta Lab Tests:

  • Every patient gets confidential and secure results
  • Patients don’t need health insurance
  • Affordable pricing for all tests
  • No need for physician’s referral
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Place your omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid test order today to find out if you have any deficiencies in your fatty acid levels. Your test results will be confidentially and securely sent to you online within 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take control of your health today by contacting Ulta Lab Tests today.