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Recalibrating omega fatty acid intake may improve health, study says

September 22, 2009 by  

Recalibrating omega fatty acid intake may improve health, study says  Nutrition experts are saying the modern Western diet has changed the balance of omega-6 fatty acids (w6) and omega-3 fatty acids (w3) – with adverse health consequences – and they are looking into ways of restoring that balance.

Previous research established that human ancestors maintained a 2:1 w6/w3 ratio, but in modern times it can be as high as 10:1 in the West, resulting in an increased risk of inflammation.

The researchers involved in the latest study describe how they analyzed 27 healthy humans who were fed a diet mimicking the w6/w3 ratios for five weeks.

Upon completion of the trial, they noted that the expression of many genes that promote inflammation was substantially reduced as compared to a normal diet. One of genes codes for a protein called PI3K, which plays an important role in autoimmune and allergic inflammation responses.

Those who would like to rebalance their diet may want to keep in mind that omega-6 fatty acids are found mainly in meat and vegetable oils, while rich sources of omega-3 include flax and fish oil. The latter can also be obtained from dietary supplements.

The paper appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


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