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How Dietary Fats Affect You: Good and Bad

Monounsaturated Fats

Oleic Acid – Omega 9

Protects Cell Membranes from Free Radicals

Oleic acid replaces other omega fatty acids in cell membranes. Since oleic acid is less susceptible to oxidation damage than omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, replacing these fatty acids with oleic acid protects your cell membranes from free radicals and other oxidative stressors (1)

Palmitoleic Acid – Omega 7

Reduce Insulin Resistance

Omega-7 protects the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas from glucose-induced toxicity – enhances proliferation of pancreatic beta cells, helping your body optimize blood sugar control with its own natural insulin (2)

Reduce Inflammation

Study from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Ohio conducted the first randomized, controlled trial in humans of supplementation with purified omega-7.

Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either an omega-7 supplement providing 220 mg palmitoleic acid or a placebo – capsules were taken once daily, with a meal, and blood testing was done at the beginning of the study and again after 30 days.

At 30 days, the supplemented group showed a significant mean lowering in C-reactive protein with a 44% reduction compared with the control group

Omega-7-supplemented subjects also had 15% reductions in triglyceride levels (3)

Polyunsaturated Fats – Omega 3 & 6

Omega 3’s

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): This 20-carbon fatty acid’s main function is to produce chemicals called eicosanoids, which help reduce inflammation. EPA also helps reduce symptoms of depression

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): A 22-carbon fatty acid, DHA makes up about 8% of brain weight and is extremely important for normal brain development and function

EPA and DHA support cellular membranes and keep them flexible – maintaining the fluidity of the cell membranes allows for proper communication between nerve cells and, therefore, helps to support focus and mental clarity

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): This 18-carbon fatty acid can be converted into EPA and DHA, although the process is not very efficient. ALA is mainly used by the body for energy (4)

Omega 6’s

The most common omega-6 fat is linoleic acid, which can be converted into longer omega-6 fats such as arachidonic acid (ARA)
Like EPA, ARA is used to produce eicosanoids – however, the eicosanoids produced by ARA are more proinflammatory

Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are important chemicals in the immune system, but when too many of them are produced, they can increase inflammation – modern Western diet contains far more omega-6 fatty acids than necessary (4)

Trans Fats

Trans fats block the production of Type 1 and 3 prostaglandins (PGs), which are derived from the omega 6 and omega 3 fats, respectfully.
Type 1 and 3 PGs help you fight inflammation and benefit your hormonal and nervous system (5)

Saturated Fats

Studies in favor of saturated fats:

A meta-analysis study, published 2010, which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat (6)

A Japanese prospective study that followed 58,000 men for an average of 14 years found no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease, and an inverse association between saturated fat and stroke (i.e. those who ate more saturated fat had a lower risk of stroke) (7)

References

1) Oleic Acid Health Benefits: MooScience. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://mooscience.com/Oleic-Acid.html

2) Omega-7 Protects and Metabolic Syndrome – page 1 | Life Extension. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2014/4/Omega-7-Protects-Against-Metabolic-Syndrome/Page-01

3) Omega-7 An Overlooked Fatty Acid – Life Extension. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2016/5/Omega-7-An-Overlooked-Fatty-Acid/Page-01

4) Omega-3-6-9 Fatty Acids: A Complete Overview. (2017, January 15). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-6-9-overview#section4

5) Hydrogenated Fat Dangers | Understand Trans Fats Dangers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.drgangemi.com/health-topics/nutrition-and-supplements/hydrogenated-fat-dangers/

6) Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation … – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20685950?dopt=AbstractPlus

7) PubMed. (n.d.). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20071648?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2%20Am%20J%20Clin%20Nutr

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