A new study has shown that having high levels of omega-6 in the blood can protect against premature death.
The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) is conducting an ongoing study to determine whether or not the levels of blood linoleic acid, the most common polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, can reduce a person’s risk of a premature death.
Omega-6 is known as being helpful in lowering bad cholesterol levels, however it is also though to increase the risk of developing some chronic diseases.
This is because the body converts linoleic acid into another omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid, which is then turned into inflammation-promoting compounds.
However, it is difficult for scientist to determine whether or not omega-6 fatty acids are a reason behind people developing these diseases as omega-6 fatty acids are also known to increase the body’s production of anti-inflammatory compounds.
From 1984-1989 the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) at the UEF tested the blood fatty acid levels of 2,480 men between the ages of 42 and 60.
At a follow up test 22 years later 1,143 of the men had died from disease.
The researchers discovered that the men who’d had the highest levels of blood linoleic acid were 43% less likely to die prematurely.
“Linoleic acid is the most common polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. We discovered that the higher the blood linoleic acid level, the smaller the risk of premature death,” Adjunct Professor Jyrki Virtanen at the University of Eastern Finland, told the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The results of the UEF’s study are in agreement with previous studies that found a link between having higher linoleic acid levels and having a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
It should also be noted that the results of the study were similar weather or not the study participants were already suffering from cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes at the beginning of the study.
Blood linoleic acid levels are controlled by diet; some sources of linoleic acid are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and plant-based spreads.
Article by Hannah Lydeamore