Health effects of different fatty acids


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Fatty acids

Humans mostly make Sat-Fats from high carb diets. Mammalian fatty acyl desaturases can introduce double bonds at the Δ5, Δ6 and Δ9 positions This means that we cannot introduce double bonds at the ω3 or ω6 positions.

Simplified Table of Fat groups and their effects

It appears that PUFA's and perhaps MUFA's can induce inappropriate insulin sensitivity - the end result would be weight gain.

Insulin Sensitivity = opposite of insulin Resistance ( Best to think in positive/Sensitivity terms - positive means Fat going into tissue. )

Type Insulin
Level
Muscle
Insulin
Sensitivity
Adipose
Insulin
Sensitivity
2 week effect?
SAFA up up Down
MUFA  ?  ? down
depends *
ω-6 FA  ?  ? Strong UP
ω-3 short-chain  ?  ? UP
ω-3 Long-chain  ?  ? UP
Transfats  ?  ? up
Sugars UP  ?  ?


Each cycle of beta oxidation (assuming an even numbered carbon chain fully saturated fatty acid) produces one FADH2, one NADH and one acetyl-CoA. This gives a total of 2FADH2 inputs and 4 NADHs per cycle of beta oxidation. But the very last pair of carbon atoms in a saturated fat do not need to go through beta oxidation as they already comprise acetate attached to CoA, so they can simply enter the TCA as acetyl-CoA. This last step only produces 1 FADH2 and 3 NADHs, with no extras.
So the shorter the fatty acid, the less FADH2 per unit NADH it produces. Short chain fatty acids like C4 butyric acid have an F:N ratio of 0.43 while very long chain fatty acids, up at 26 carbons, have an F:N ratio of about 0.49.
As Dr Speijer points out, differing length fatty acids are dealt with differently. Very short chain fatty acids head straight for the liver and get metabolised by hepatic mitochondria immediately. Any excess acetyl-CoA gets off-loaded as ketones.
Very long chain fatty acids end up in peroxisomes for shortening, usually to C8, which is then shunted to mitochondria for routine beta oxidation. Of course peroxisomal beta oxidation generates zero FADH2, except that from acetyl-CoA, because peroxisomal FADH2 is reacted directly with oxygen to give H2O2. And heat, of course.
Bear in mind that the ratio of F:N generated by a metabolic fuel sets the ability to generate reverse electron flow through complex I and subsequent superoxide production, macroscopically described as insulin resistance.
So fatty acids up to C8 are cool, dump them to the liver and make a few ketones. Very long chain fatty acids over C18, shorten to C8 in peroxisomes, shift them to mitochondria and make some ketones if needs must. The F:N ratio of C8 is about 0.47, a value chosen by metabolism as the end product of peroxisomal shortening. The number is important. Actually the number is even lower as peroxisomal beta oxidation generates the NADHs of beta oxidation, just not the FADH2s, but why allow facts like this to spoil a great argument. C8 from breast milk and/or coconuts seems fine and has that F:N ratio of 0.47.
Now the area of interest is, of course, C16, palmitic acid. This has an F:N ratio of about 0.48, almost as superoxide generating as a C26 fatty acid up at 0.49. And palmitic acid does, without any shadow of a doubt, produce macroscopic insulin resistance. That's 15 FADH2s and 31 NADHs.
So an F:N of 0.47 is not a serious generator of superoxide and an F:N of 0.48 is.
What happens when we drop a double bond in to palmitic acid? Mitochondrial beta oxidation generates FADH2 as it drops a double bond in to the saturated fat chain. If the double bond is already there, hey, no FADH2!
Palmitoleate has one double bond. This of course gives 14 FADH2s and 31 NADHs, an F:N ratio of 0.45.
Palmitate 0.48
C8 caprylic 0.47, chosen by peroxisomes to hand to mitochondria
Palmitoleic 0.45
Adding a single double bond to palmitic acid drops its F:N ratio from significantly superoxide generating to minimally superoxide generating. It looks like a switch to me.

List of Saturated Fatty Acids


Other Fats

LA

LA speculation

LA Thyroid connection?

Dietary Sources

Name % LA
Safflower Oil 78%
Grape Seed Oil 73%
Poppy Seed Oil 70%
Sunflower Oil 68%
Hemp Oil 60%
Corn Oil 59%
Wheat Germ Oil 55%
Cottonseed Oil 54%
Soybean Oil 51%
Walnut Oil 51%
Peanut Oil 48%
Sesame Oil 45%
Rice Bran Oil 39%
Pistachio Oil 32.7%
Canola Oil 21%
Egg Yolk 16%
Linseed oil 15%
Lard 10%
Olive Oil 10%
Palm Oil 10%
Cocoa Butter 3%
Macadamia Oil 2%
Butter 2%
Coconut Oil 2%
  average val

Conventional oils

Olive oil

Heart healthy - seems to reduce oxLDL - does contain some palmitic and linoleic acid

Fat contents of food

These values may vary - year to year - LA in particular has increased with livestock eating ever more corn. Some measures vary +/- 2:1

Saturated, Monounsaturated, and Polyunsaturated Fats in Various Fats and Oils in percent
short chain medium chain long chain
carbons 4:00 6:00 8:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00
name butyric caproic caprylic capric lauric myristic palmitic stearic sat mono poly n-6 n-3
PLANT OILS
canola oil 4 2 6 62 32 23 11
cocoa butter 28 32 60 38 2 2 0
coconut oil 1 8 6 50 17 8 3 92 6 2 2 0
corn oil 12 2 14 28 58 57 1
cottonseed oil 14 15 29 19 52 52 0
flax seed 6 3 9 18 73 16 57
olive oil 10 3 13 75 12 11 1
palm kernel oil 0 3 4 51 17 9 3 87 11 2 2 0
palm oil 1 45 5 51 40 9 9 0
peanut oil 10 2 21 47 32 32 0
safflower oil 4 2 7 15 78 75 0
sesame oil 10 5 15 41 44 44 0
soy oil 14 6 20 27 53 50 0
sunflower oil 8 4 12 19 69 68 1
ANIMAL FATS
beef fat 7 30 15 52 45 3 3 0
beef fat, grass-fed 3 26 19 49 46 5 5 0
bison fat, grass-fed 2 22 25 49 46 6 6 0
chicken fat 1 24 6 31 48 21 20 0
duck & goose fat 1 28 6 35 52 13 13 0
human fat 3 20 4 27 53 19 16 2
lard 1 26 13 40 48 12 12 0
venison fat 4 27 33 64 27 8 8 0
egg yolk 27 10 37 46 17 16 0
DAIRY
butter 4 3 2 3 3 10 30 13 68 28 4 4 0
cheese, cheddar 3 2 1 2 2 11 32 13 66 31 3 3 0
cheese, swiss 4 2 1 2 2 12 31 13 67 29 4 4 0
cream, heavy 3 2 1 3 3 11 28 13 65 31 4 4 0
SEAFOOD
anchovy 7 17 6 31 29 40 4 36
herring, atlantic 7 17 1 26 47 27 6 21
salmon, farmed 5 18 5 28 36 37 13 24
salmon, wild 2 11 4 17 37 45 15 31
sardine oil 7 18 4 29 36 34 10 25
seal oil, alaskan 6 10 1 17 63 21 5 16
trout, farmed 4 20 6 30 32 38 18 19
trout, wild 3 14 5 22 37 41 18 23
whale oil, beluga 1 7 8 1 18 68 14 3 11

Consumption of ω-6 and seed oil over time

While correlation does not show causation - it seems it would be prudent to figure out if LA is what is driving the obesity pandemic. There is a problem in such studies as according to one paper there is a 600day half-life to contend with. This half-life could be separating cause and effect so that people don't pick up on what is doing them harm. It would be fairly easy to find a correlation with LA in adipose tissue with obesity.

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Omega-6-consumption-from-seed-oils

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"The linoleic acid content of body fat has increased tremendously in the US over the last 50 years, as shown in the following graph, based on a number of different studies, each of which is represented by an orange dot

Refs


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LA in Human Fat

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Omega-3 vs heart risk

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US-weight-1960-2010

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o-3 vs o-6 Ratios

There are many people promoting fish oil to balance this ratio - no one questions if that is the right way. All PUFA's mess with insulin sensitivity - so fish-oil has the potential to cause obesity. Also - the amount of PUFA in the diet effects the permeability of cell membranes - effecting even our immune system.


Warning About Junk Science

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