The reference ranges are provided simply to give an idea of how these values compare to a large number of others taken from a relatively healthy population. In the case of the dried blood spot assay, the reference range was taken from approximately 75,000 dried blood spots analyzed at OmegaQuant between 2015-2019. No information regarding the state of health of any of these individuals is known. The reference range encompasses 99% of the individuals in their respective populations. Although “average,” these are not necessarily “optimal” levels, i.e., target levels or levels that one should attempt to achieve. The only results for which we feel justified in providing actual targets or optimal levels are the Omega-3 Index, Ratios and Tran Fat Index since these have undergone the most research. As the research in this area matures, we may recommend new “target” values for other fatty acids or ratios when we believe that they have been adequately validated.
As noted above, we provide reference ranges for general information only, not to suggest or guide changes in diet. We do not believe that the research has advanced to the point where we can tell people who have a below (or above) “average” level of any given fatty acid class that they should try to change it. There are several reasons for this. First, since most fatty acid levels in the blood are not influenced by diet but are established by internal genetics and metabolism, even attempting to alter a fatty acid level by dietary change would be largely futile. Secondly, we don’t have the data at present to show that even if one could change fatty acid levels (again, except for the Omega-3 Index and Trans Fat Index), it would benefit them to do so. So, until further research convincingly demonstrates that raising or lowering a certain fatty acid or class is beneficial (or not), we take the approach of simply giving each client the numbers, and they can track them as they wish.