But it is member of the omega-6 tribe, which means that when all is said and done – it helps to create a chemical called arachidonic acid.
Arachidonic acid is MR INFLAMMATION
When enzymes break it down, it creates inflammatory chemical messengers, collectively referred to as “bad” eicosanoids.
The more “bad” eicosanoids you’ve got, the more likely you are to have inflammation somewhere in your body.
If the inflammation is
- in your blood vessels – you’ve got cardiovascular disease
- in you joints – you’ve got arthritis
- in the respiratory tract – you’re suffering from allergies or asthma
- in your head – then you’ve got a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s
Maybe you’re rethinking the “margarine” is a health food.
But its healthfulness depends on your genes.
PUFAs biochemistry directed by FADS cluster
Arachidonic acid belongs to a class of chemicals called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Organizations such as the American Heart Association encourage people to make PUFAs a significant part of their diet. But PUFA biochemistry is complicated.
To be a PUFA, a chemical must be a fatty acid – which means that it is a very long chain of carbon atoms with a carboxyl group stuck on the end.
But precisely how many carbons are in the chain and the types of bonds holding the carbons together, makes a big difference to how the chemical behaves. So PUFAs are not created equal. And what is created, depends on what you eat, as well as the activities of several enzymes.
Mother nature packaged many of the genes that code for these enzymes on a small region of chromosome 11, in an area nicknamed the FADS cluster.
The FADS cluster determines how efficient the whole process is.
FADS cluster is variable
Just like our colouring (skin, eyes, hair) and the shape of your ears and nose are variable, the FADS cluster is different in each of us.
Some people are very efficient at creating long chain PUFAs and some people are slow.
In the case of PUFAs, slow is actually better, because slow coaches don’t produce as much arachidonic acid. Less arachidonic acid means less bad eicosanoids (inflammatory messengers) and less inflammation. Less inflammation ultimately equals better health.
African ancestors put you at risk
Researchers looked at FADS clusters in different population groups within America.
They found something very interesting
- White people (or those with European ancestors) are slow
- Black people (or those with African ancestors) are fast
So your genes are impacting what happens when you eat a piece of cake or cookie baked using margarine.
If you’re white, you maybe all right, but if you’re black, you may be dialling up the stress levels.
Balance your eicosanoids
There is no one diet fits all – we are each a unique package of chemicals.
In the future, we will all be following personalized diet plans but until then, read the signs in your body and make the necessary adjustments.
Inflammatory diseases are a sign that the eicosanoids are out of balance.
Fortunately, fixing this problem is relatively easy. Restore the balance by boosting omega-3 levels to counterbalance the excess omega-6. And where possible, try to cut down on omega-6 consumption – so lay off the cookies and cakes.
Learn more about the chemistry visit the Balance Eicosanoids Spoon.The impact of FADS genetic variants on omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism in African Americans. BMC Genetics, 2011; 12 (1): 50. Rasika A Mathias, Susan Sergeant, Ingo Ruczinski, Dara G Torgerson, Christina E Hugenschmidt, Meghan Kubala, Dhahanjay Vaidya, Bhoom Suktitipat, Julie T Ziegler, Priscilla Ivester, Douglas Case, Lisa R Yanek, Barry I Freedman, Megan E Rudock, Kathleen C Barnes, Carl D Langefeld, Lewis C Becker, Donald W Bowden, Diane M Becker, Floyd H Chilton.
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