Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.      Article 271

Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) May Help In Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Know how to reverse type 2 diabetes.

The earlier studies have indicated that omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may increase the body inflammation, which is a risk factor for chronic diseases. A large-scale and global study shows a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) with the consumption of a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

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Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids can help in preventing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and inflammation.

The researchers have analyzed the records of 39,740 individuals from 20 studies done in ten countries. They found 4,347 new type 2 diabetes (T2D) cases over a period. In the study, the researchers tested for the levels of linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, the two key markers of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.

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The study shows 35 percent less likely risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) among those individuals with the highest levels of linoleic acid (a major marker for omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. PUFAs) in the blood compared to those individuals with the lowest levels of linoleic acid in the blood. But, arachidonic acid (a marker for omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. PUFAs) was not associated with either lower or higher risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D).

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Our body will receive linoleic acid through our diet as our body does not naturally produce linoleic acid. This type of fat is found mostly in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. The US dietary guidelines say that an individual should get five to ten percent of the energy from polyunsaturated fats.

The lead author of the study was Dr. Jason H Y Wu, M.Sc, Ph.D., a senior research fellow, Food Policy Group, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia. The senior author of the study was Professor Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist, the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Tufts University Massachusetts, United States.

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The study was published on October 11, 2017, in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Title of the article was "Omega-6 fatty acid biomarkers and incident type 2 diabetes: pooled analysis of individual-level data for 39,740 adults from 20 prospective cohort studies."
DOI: doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(17)30307-8

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Omega-6: Like omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). It is required for the optimal health of an individual. Omega-6 fatty acids are not produced naturally in our body. This has to be consumed in moderate amounts in place of saturated fats. We get the following health benefits of omega-6 fatty acids.

  • Reduction in nerve pain in patients of diabetic neuropathy with the consumption of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid for a period of six months or more.
  • Dihomogamma linolenic acid (DGLA) derived from Omega-6 fatty acids, which is an anti-inflammatory. The body inflammation is a risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and arthritis.
  • Studies show that omega-6 fatty acids may help in reducing the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Omega-6 fatty acids can reduce high blood pressure in men with borderline high blood pressure.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids can lower coronary heart disease.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids can help in improving the hips and spine bones and bone health.

The following foods provide us the highest levels of omega-6 fatty acids.

  • Oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, poppyseed, walnut, cottonseed, soybean and sesame.
  • Poultry.
  • Cereals.
  • Whole-grain bread.


Published on November 29, 2017


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