February 15, 2009
Omega 3 Fatty Acids Reduce Damage From Obesity

If you can't keep off lots of extra pounds then eat fish or fish oil pills as protection.

According to a recent study published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids protect the liver from damage caused by obesity and the insulin resistance it provokes. This research should give doctors and nutritionists valuable information when recommending and formulating weight-loss diets and help explain why some obese patients are more likely to suffer some complications associated with obesity. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in canola oil and fish.

A reduction in the risk of insulin-resistant diabetes is a big win. Insulin resistance causes many things (higher heart attack risk, faster brain aging, and much more) to go wrong as we age.

"Our study shows for the first time that lipids called protectins and resolvins derived from omega-3 fatty acids can actually reduce the instance of liver complications, such as hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, in obese people," stated Joan Claria, a professor from the University of Barcelona and one of the researchers involved in the work.

You need your protectins and resolvins.

The scientists found that two types of lipids in omega-3 fatty acids—protectins and resolvins—were the cause of the protective effect. To reach this conclusion, they studied four groups of mice with an altered gene making them obese and diabetic. One group was given an omega-3-enriched diet and the second group was given a control diet. The third group was given docosahexaenoic acid, and the fourth received only the lipid resolvin. After five weeks, blood serum and liver samples from the test mice were examined. The mice given the omega-3-rich diet exhibited less hepatic inflammation and improved insulin tolerance. This was due to the formation of protectins and resolvins from omega-3 fatty acids.

If you demand understanding of a molecular mechanism for why a nutrient will protect you before you will act then now you know the mechanism exists. Get omega 3 fatty acids into your diet.

Update: While getting omega 3 fatty acids avoid the fructose-sweetened sodas.

In the study, published online by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Teff and her collaborators studied 17 obese men and women. Each was admitted two times to the Clinical and Translational Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania. On each admission, the subjects were given identical meals and blood was collected from an intravenous catheter over a 24-hour period. The only difference was the sweetener used in the beverages that accompanied the meals; beverages were sweetened with glucose during one admission and with fructose during the other.

Blood triglyceride levels were higher when subjects drank fructose-sweetened beverages with their meals compared to when they drank glucose-sweetened beverages. The total amount of triglycerides over a 24-hour period was almost 200 percent higher when the subjects drank fructose-sweetened beverages.

Although fructose increased triglyceride levels in all of the subjects, this effect was especially pronounced in insulin-resistant subjects, who already had increased triglyceride levels. Insulin resistance is a pre-diabetic condition often associated with obesity.

What I would like to know: Can eating fruits cause the same effect?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 February 15 08:16 PM  Aging Diet Studies


Comments
rob said at February 16, 2009 11:02 AM:

"What I would like to know: Can eating fruits cause the same effect?"

From evolutionary logic, I would think fruit is a net benefit. We've at least partially adapted to it: we can't make our own vitamin C. On the other hand, the fruit we actually eat is much sweater than wild fruit.

Bob Badour said at February 16, 2009 6:36 PM:
The total amount of triglycerides over a 24-hour period was almost 200 percent higher when the subjects drank fructose-sweetened beverages.

But what was the effect of glucose on insulin? If I were insulin resistant, I would care a hell of a lot more about hyperinsulinemia than about triglyceride levels.

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