8749 - Fatty acids status in whole blood
- EDTA Blood, 2ml
Saturated fatty acids
Frequent ingestion of saturated fatty acids can lead to an enhancement of the cholesterol level and in particular of LDL-cholesterol and thus to an increase in the cardiovascular risk. It is therefore recommended to restrict the intake of saturated fatty acids to 10% of the daily energy requirement, and/or to reduce the provision of saturated fatty acids in favour of other fatty acids or carbohydrates with a deep glycaemic load index.
Saturated fatty acids are provided for example by hazel nuts or cacao butter (stearic acid), as well as in palm oil, butter, suet (palmitic acid) or hardened coconut oil (myristic acid).
Single unsaturated fatty acids
Single unsaturated fatty acids are primarily contained in plant-based oils such as olive oil and rapeseed oil. The single unsaturated fatty acid most frequently contained in foodstuffs is the oleic acid, which is particularly abundant in olive oil.
Although single unsaturated fatty acids can be produced by the body itself, it is still recommended to cover 10% to 15% (but a max. of 20%) of the daily energy requirement by means of such oleic acids. Because, an enhanced supply of single unsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated oleic acids can lead to a reduction in LDL cholesterol. Furthermore, the hazard of an increased oxidation of LDL cholesterol will be reduced.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for bodily health and need to be administered through normal nutritional methods. Algae, crop plants and fish are the primary resources of Omega-3. Plants almost exclusively provide for the requisite α-linolenic acids (ALA), whereas fish and algae are primarily the providers of DHA and EPA. EPA and DHA are integral parts of the cell membrane and have a modulating effect upon the functions of a variety of cell structures. In research on humans, the following effects have been shown for DHA and EPA. These, or rather their metabolic products, tend to prevent cardiac arrhythmias and myocardial infarctions, reduce triglycerides, possess a precautionary effect against ‘CHD′-coronary heart disease, encourage the peripheral blood flow, inhibit the platelet aggregation, and also have numerous additional positive effects on vascular functions, blood pressure and inflammation mediators.
Testing on pregnant women has shown, that a good provision of EPA and DHA will lead to less premature births, post-partum depressions will occur less frequently and that brain development was more favourably affected.
Omega-3 fatty acids also seem to have positive effects on stroke patients, in cases of depression, schizophrenia, ‘Alzheimer’, ‘ADHS’, on ‘borderline’ cases and also on autoimmune complaints.
Omega-6 fatty acids
From the health aspect, the ratio between Omega 6 and Omega 3 is decisive as to which is too high as a rule in essential nutritional processes, whereby inflammatory effects can be furthered and the cardio-vascular risk can be enhanced. A most favourable ratio is considered as 4:1 to 6:1. Alternatively, as an addition to this ratio, 2.5% to 9% of the overall daily energy requirement should be covered by Omega 6 fatty acids and 0.5% to 2% by Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 6 fatty acids are contained primarily in plant-based oils such as safflower oil and sunflower oil. Arachidonic acid, which is also an Omega 6-type oil, is contained in animal products such as meat and milk products. The Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) are abundantly contained in cold-water fish and seaweeds. Essential Omega 3 fatty acids such as α-linolenic acid are to be found mostly in the plant-based oils linseed, chia seed (salvia hispanica) or walnut oil.
The Omega-3 Index measures the percentage part of both essential ω-3 fatty acids, the eicosapentaenic acid (EPA) and the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at the fatty acid content in the erythrocytes. An insight into the provisional status of humans is thus enabled over several weeks. Current studies demonstrate the effectivity of EPA and DHA for the prevention and therapy of heart diseases. The cardiac protective target parameter for EPA and DHA is around >8%. Those parameters below 4% are associated with a 10-fold enhanced risk for sudden cardiac death. A similar or weaker correlation is scientifically proven for non-terminative cardio-vascular complaints. It has also be scentifically shown, that DHA contributes to the maintenance of a normal brain function. The ‘Société Suisse de Nutrition (SSN)ʾ recommends a dosage of EPA and DHA of 500 mg per day.
- Fatty Acids
- Nutrition / Micronutrients
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