Jun 142012

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Studies show that chronic inflammation can be a causative factor in heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

But how does your diet come into play?





Best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil’s website states, “Most people consume an excess of omega-6 fatty acids from which the body synthesizes hormones that promote inflammation.”

The website of TV celebrity Dr. Oz follows suit: “If you’ve got too much omega-6, inflammation wins.”

Both suggest limiting your intake of omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are found in sunflower and other vegetable oils.

The problem is studies don’t show that omega-6 increases inflammation. And it might even help you stay healthy.

According to William Harris of the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, avoiding omega-6 vegetable oils isn’t called for: “First, the body converts so little of the omega-6’s linoleic acid into arachidonic acid [the fatty acid that is said to cause inflammation] that its levels don’t budge. And second, the body converts arachidonic acid into both pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds, so it can’t be pigeonholed as one or the other.”

In a 10-week Swedish study of people who got 15 percent of their calories either from butter (saturated fat) or from sunflower oil (omega-6), neither group showed a rise in inflammation or in arachidonic acid.

On the other hand, those eating the omega-6 diet had less liver fat suggesting that their insulin was working better.

Three years ago, due to this and similar studies, the American Heart Association cautioned consumers not to cut back on oils containing omega-6.

But wait, there’s more. According to Harris, “Eating less omega-6 fats is more likely to increase than decrease the risk of heart disease” because omega-6 fats lower the LDL or ‘bad” cholesterol.

So you decide. Scientists and the American Heart Association or celebrity doctors?

Note: My source for this blog is the June 2012 Nutrition Action Healthletter. A thin, valuable newsletter published 10 times a year.