William E.M. Lands

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William E.M. Lands
BornJuly 22, 1930

William E.M. Lands (born July 22, 1930) is an American nutritional biochemist who is among the world's foremost authorities on essential fatty acids.[1]


Lands graduated from University of Michigan in 1951 and served on the faculty there from 1955 to 1980. He then moved to University of Illinois Chicago (1980–1990) and subsequently the National Institutes of Health (1990–2002), where he served as the senior scientific advisor to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He was named a Fellow by the American Society for Nutrition, Society for Redox Biology and Medicine, International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Lands is credited for discovering the beneficial effects of balancing the effects of excess omega-6 fatty acids with dietary omega-3 fatty acids. The effect of essential fatty acids on formation of hormones is documented in his book, "Fish, Omega-3 and Human Health" and in interviews for the lay public. University of Michigan's Department of Biological Chemistry endowed a "Lectureship on the Biochemical Basis for the Physiology of Essential Nutrients" in honor of William E.M. Lands.

Upon receipt of a Pfizer Biomedical Research Award in 1985, Lands developed an empirical mathematical relationship showing how metabolism of dietary omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids leads to predictable proportions of their elongated highly unsaturated derivatives (HUFA) accumulated in tissue lipids.[2] After retirement, he changed from publishing as William E.M. Lands to Bill Lands as he put increased attention to primary prevention of health disorders related to excessive actions of omega-6 mediators [3][4] and describing consequences of imbalanced dietary intakes of omega-3 and omega-6 nutrients.[5][6] More recently, Lands described an Omega 3-6 Balance Score that indicates the likely impact of individual food items on the balance of HUFA accumulated in tissues.[7] Lands emphasized that efficient conversion of linoleic acid (18:2n-6) to the n-6 highly unsaturated fatty acid (n-6HUFA), arachidonic acid (20:4n-6), competitively displaces n-3 HUFA from tissue phospholipids and creates a narrow therapeutic window for dietary linoleic in the absence of n-3 nutrients.[8] The HUFA balance seen with a finger-tip blood-spot assay [9] monitors dietary intakes of essential fatty acids and predicts the likely intensity of n-6 eicosanoid-mediated pathophysiology.[10]

He was a science advisor for the seafood and omega 3 supplement company Vital Choice.[11] He held a position as director at the Omega Protein Corporation[12] that provides omega-3 rich fish oil for the supplement industry.[13] A company that he also held shares in.[14]


Lands Lecturers have included:

Classics Reprints in Biological Chemistry[edit]

The editors of The Journal of Biological Chemistry named his 1958 paper [Nicole Kresge, Robert D. Simoni, and Robert L. Hill, Journal of Biological Chemistry Classics, v. 284, p. e3, 2009. https://www.jbc.org/article/S0021-9258(20)58250-1/pdf] as a "Classic" and published a "Reflections" overview of his work in 2011 [ Lands, B. Everything Is Connected to Everything Else. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 286, 43589-43595. http://www.jbc.org/content/286/51/43589].

Selected publications[edit]

  • Fish and Human Health (1986)
  • Fish, Omega-3 and Human Health, Second Edition (2005)



  1. ^ Nicole Kresge, Robert D. Simoni, and Robert L. Hill, Journal of Biological Chemistry Classics, v. 284, p. e3, 2009
  2. ^ Lands, W.E.M.; et al. (1992). "Maintenance of lower proportions of n-6 eicosanoid precursors in phospholipids of human plasma in response to added dietary n-3 fatty acids". Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1180 (2): 147–162. doi:10.1016/0925-4439(92)90063-s. PMID 1463766.
  3. ^ Lands, B (Mar 2008). "A critique of paradoxes in current advice on dietary lipids". Prog Lipid Res. 47 (2): 77–106. doi:10.1016/j.plipres.2007.12.001. PMID 18177743.
  4. ^ Lands, B (Jul 2009). "Planning primary prevention of coronary disease". Curr Atheroscler Rep. 11 (4): 272–80. doi:10.1007/s11883-009-0042-6. PMID 19500490. S2CID 36603312.
  5. ^ Lands, B (2011). "Prevent the cause, not just the symptoms". Prost. Other Lipid Med. 96 (1–4): 90–93. doi:10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2011.07.003. PMID 21827870.
  6. ^ Lands, B (Dec 2011). "Reflections: Everything is connected to everything else". J. Biol. Chem. 286 (51): 43589–43595. doi:10.1074/jbc.x111.318873. PMC 3243542. PMID 22045809.
  7. ^ Lands, B; Lamoreaux, E (2012). "Describing essential fatty acid balance as 3 - 6 differences rather than 3/6 ratios". Nutrition & Metabolism. 9 (1): 46–54. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-46. PMC 3533819. PMID 22624598.
  8. ^ Lands, B (2014). "Historical perspectives on the impact of n-3 and n-6 nutrients on health". Prog Lipid Res. 55: 17–29. doi:10.1016/j.plipres.2014.04.002. PMID 24794260.
  9. ^ Bibus, D.; Lands, B. (2015). "Balancing proportions of competing omega-3 and omega-6 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) in tissue lipids". Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 99: 19–23. doi:10.1016/j.plefa.2015.04.005. PMID 26002802.
  10. ^ Lands, B (2015). "Omega-3 PUFAs lower the propensity for arachidonic acid cascade over-reactions". BioMed Res Int. 2015: 555. doi:10.1155/2015/285135. PMC 4537720. PMID 26301244.
  11. ^ "Experts Find New Fish-and-Health Review Deeply Distorting - Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics". www.vitalchoice.com. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  12. ^ SEC. "Omega Protein Corp 2005 Current Report 8-K". SEC.report. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  13. ^ "Who We Are- Omega Protein, a Nutritional Ingredient Company". Omega Protein. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  14. ^ "Lands William e M 2007 Security Sale/Purchase Record Form 4".