Blood Spot Test Guide

The Development of a Rapid Blood Omega 3 Analysis method at Nutrition Analytical Service, University of Stirling


Video by Denny Conway, Institute of Aquaculture

Self examination. Video by Denny Conway, Institute of Aquaculture

In 2007, NAS began working with research and commercial partners to conduct analysis of fatty acid compositions in human red blood cells (RBC). This analysis is still provided and, of particular interest, is the measurement of the long-chain Omega 3 fatty acids, which have widely acknowledged benefits for human health. NAS has developed and validated a rapid fatty acid analysis method for measuring Omega 3 status using a single drop of whole blood. The blood sample is obtained via a finger prick collection kit and is then immobilised on pre-treated card prior to sending for analysis at NAS.

The advantage of the finger prick blood spot method, compared with collecting venous blood, is the non-invasive nature of the test. The speed and simplicity of collection is important when vulnerable patients are being studied, in particular young children, patients with neurological problems and the elderly. The analysis of a whole blood sample was a major advance as the duration of analysis could be reduced due to technical improvements and automation of the analytical methods.

The percentage of Omega 3 fatty acids in a blood sample can be readily compared to optimal Omega 3 ratios using the scale developed by Prof. Bill Lands and also can be related to the Omega Index developed by Harris and von Schacky.

NAS conducts analysis of Omega 3 fatty acids for a range of pharmaceutical companies and clinical laboratories. NAS also supports research projects that involve the measurement of Omega 3 status. Please contact us if you would like more details on the Omega 3 analysis.