What? Omega-6 fatty acids can reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

Remy

Administrator
I've just been trying to get my head around Omega 3s and 6s and 9s these past few weeks...and now this!

Does anyone else think this is basically opposite of everything we've ever been told about the health benefits of various oils?

I'm so confused.

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that high serum omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations are linked to a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

It has been speculated that a high intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids may increase the risk of several chronic diseases, as these fatty acids have been suggested to promote low-grade inflammation, among other things. However, studies conducted on humans have not established a link between even a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. Furthermore, omega-6 fatty acids have beneficial effects on, for example, glucose metabolism. Earlier research has systematically linked especially linoleic acid, which is the most common omega-6 fatty acid, to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. However, scientific evidence relating to the health effects of other omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids is not as inconclusive.

The study found that high serum omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations were associated with a 46% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes during the follow-up. When analysing the independent associations of different omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, a similarly significant association was found between high serum linoleic and arachidonic acid concentrations and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. However, high serum gamma-linolenic and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid concentrations were linked to a higher risk.

The study indicates that high serum linoleic and arachidonic acid concentrations are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The serum linoleic acid concentration is determined by the person's diet, and the main sources of linoleic acid are vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. Arachidonic acid is present in meat and eggs; however, the human body can also make arachidonic acid from linoleic acid.

Gamma-linolenic acid and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid are mainly formed in the human body from linoleic acid. Their concentrations in serum are very low in comparison to, for example, linoleic acid. The association of gamma-linolenic acid and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes has been observed in some earlier studies, but the underlying reason remains unknown.

All in all, however, this study as well as several earlier ones suggest that polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids have a beneficial impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Source:
University of Eastern Finland
 

Snow Leopard

Active Member
Does anyone else think this is basically opposite of everything we've ever been told about the health benefits of various oils?
Yes, there is a lot of hype about this stuff. Fact is, we need both Omega-6 and Omega-3 PUFAs.

Linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid are all Omega-6 acids, but the higher levels of the former two were beneficial and higher levels of the latter two were found to be detrimental.

Lastly, these findings are merely hypothesis generating when it comes to supplements and diet - we cannot automatically assume that taking more dietary Omega-3 or Omega-6 will lead to the results found in studies like this. There is still a gap between what we eat and what happens on the cellular level.

There is a little bit of discussion on this in the published article:
http://ajcn.nutrition.org.sci-hub.io/content/early/2016/03/23/ajcn.115.128629
 

Remy

Administrator
Yes, there is a lot of hype about this stuff. Fact is, we need both Omega-6 and Omega-3 PUFAs.
I agree...I thought the gist though was that we got so many Omega 6s in our diet already that we only really needed to boost the Omega 3s. Not that we didn't need both kinds.

Linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid are all Omega-6 acids, but the higher levels of the former two were beneficial and higher levels of the latter two were found to be detrimental.
I'm most confused by gamma linolenic acid. I've often read it is a helpful Omega 6 acid and one especially good for older women to include as a supplement due to mild estrogenic properties.

I wonder why higher levels would be found to be detrimental? What's the take away? Take more zinc too?

Gamma linolenic acid: an antiinflammatory omega-6 fatty acid.
Review article

Kapoor R, et al. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2006.
Show full citation
Abstract
Inflammation plays an important role in health and disease. Most of the chronic diseases of modern society, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, etc. have inflammatory component. At the same time, the link between diet and disease is also being recognized. Amongst dietary constituents, fat has gained most recognition in affecting health. Saturated and trans fatty acids have been implicated in obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer while polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) generally have a positive effect on health.

The PUFAs of omega-3 and omega-6 series play a significant role in health and disease by generating potent modulatory molecules for inflammatory responses, including eicosanoids (prostaglandins, and leukotrienes), and cytokines (interleukins) and affecting the gene expression of various bioactive molecules.

Gamma linolenic acid (GLA, all cis 6, 9, 12-Octadecatrienoic acid, C18:3, n-6), is produced in the body from linoleic acid (all cis 6,9-octadecadienoic acid), an essential fatty acid of omega-6 series by the enzyme delta-6-desaturase. Preformed GLA is present in trace amounts in green leafy vegetables and in nuts. The most significant source of GLA for infants is breast milk. GLA is further metabolized to dihomogamma linlenic acid (DGLA) which undergoes oxidative metabolism by cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenases to produce anti-inflammatory eicosanoids (prostaglandins of series 1 and leukotrienes of series 3). GLA and its metabolites also affect expression of various genes where by regulating the levels of gene products including matrix proteins. These gene products play a significant role in immune functions and also in cell death (apoptosis). The present review will emphasize the role of GLA in modulating inflammatory response, and hence its potential applications as an anti-inflammatory nutrient or adjuvant.

PMID 17168669 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Full text
Full text at journal site
 

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