beneficial oils

Why are studies conflicting on the benefits of oils?

Many oils are prone to oxidation, in addition many oils contain both pro and antiflammatory effects within their composition.

 Knowing which oils to use and what to combine them with may be making all the difference in how we view fats. 

Dietary habits may strongly influence intestinal homeostasis. Oxidized products of cholesterol known as oxysterols present in foods, have been shown to exert pro-oxidant and pro-inflammatory effects, altering intestinal epithelial layer and thus contributing to the pathogenesis of human inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer. 

Extra virgin olive oil polyphenols possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and concentrate in the intestinal lumen, where they may help in preventing intestinal diseases. Olive oil is a known anti inflammatory oil less prone to oxidation.

Oils and Microbiota

One of the main feature of chronic gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders, such as the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), is the overproduction of oxidant species, nitric oxide (NO) and proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, secreted by enterocytes and local immune cells, which sustain and amplify inflammation and cause extensive damage to the mucosa. Growing evidence is accumulating toward the strong influence of dietary components, whose metabolites exert pro-oxidant or pro-inflammatory features, in the onset and progression of gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders. In this connection, dietary oxidized lipids, such as oxysterols and fatty acids hydroperoxides, together with microbiota, may influence intestinal inflammation through different mechanisms which include direct production of reactive species in the colon, antigenic effect, alteration of gene expression, changes in the composition of the enteric flora, gut permeability, and immune system deregulation. Recently, debate has erupted in both the scientific community and throughout the lay public around whether a low-fat or low carbohydrate diet is better for weight loss. Is it better to cut fat or cut carbohydrate for weight loss. However, going beyond this debate (fat versus carbohydrate), are questions around whether certain fatty acids are worse for promoting insulin resistance, inflammation, and obesity.

Why olive oil and fish oils?

  • The anti-inflammatory activity of olive oil polyphenols seems to be related to their ability to inhibit the proinflammatory activity of oxidants-generating enzymes and to modulate different intracellular signaling pathways.
  • Fish oils have clinically proven effects for cancer prevention and treatment in numerous cancers, including colon, pancreatic, breast and lung cancer. Fish oils can alter HLA-DR gene expression and are highly anti inflammatory. It has been shown that combining fish oils with anti-oxidant vitamin E may inhibit oxidation and increase their effects, especially in reducing insulin resistance. This affect was noted across many groups and among both male and female patients, including menopausal, overweight, atherosclerotic and in those suffering with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s and PCOS. Interestingly, testosterone and free testosterone was markedly reduced in women with PCOS. 

Flax oil Omega 3’s did not produce the same effects in PCOS women.

Compared to 10% Safflower Flax Oil, 3% Fish Oil significantly downregulated expression of genes involved in eicosanoid synthesis and inflammation. From this, it can be estimated that ALA was 1/8 as potent as EPA+DHA. Marine-derived n-3 PUFAs have greater potency versus plant-based n-3 PUFAs.

Salmon Oil

Despite the myriads of studies outlining the benefits of Omega 3’s supplementation, studies on children are not well known. Studies have shown that even without dietary intervention, supplementation with salmon oil omega 3’s significantly reduces obesity and insulin resistance in obese children.


Vitamin E

Vitamin E Vitamin E is a group of eight fat soluble compounds that include four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Vitamin E deficiency is usually due to an underlying problem with digesting dietary fat rather than from a diet low in vitamin E, and this can cause nerve problems.

Though poorly understood, vitamin E may have various roles. Many biological functions have been postulated, including a role as a fat-soluble antioxidant. In this role, vitamin E acts as a radical scavenger, delivering a hydrogen (H) atom to free radicals. Vitamin E donates a hydrogen atom to the peroxyl radical and other free radicals, minimizing their damaging effect. The thus-generated tocopheryl radical is recycled to tocopherol by a redox reaction with a hydrogen donor. As it is fat-soluble, vitamin E is incorporated into cell membranes, which are therefore protected from oxidative damage.

Most Americans are extremely deficient in vitamin E.

Natural vitamin E is known as “d-alpha-tocopherol.” This is the most biologically active form of vitamin E.

Synthetic vitamin E is known as “dl-alpha-tocopherol.” According to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, you need “approximately 50% more IU of synthetic alpha tocopherol” to get the same nutritional effect. They are derived from petroleum products.

Fish like Salmon, Trout and other fatty fish contain small amounts of natural Vitamin E. The best sources of vitamin E are found in nuts and seeds. Wheat germ oil contains the highest amounts of Vitamin E with over 100% RDA per tablespoon. Most vegetables and fruits are not high in Vitamin E and many servings are required to get a substantial daily amount. Do not over consume any beneficial oil to prevent risk of bleeding and stroke and other potential negative side effects. One tsp. – one tbsp. per day is sufficient for any healthy oil used as treatment. Do not exceed RDA of any vitamin and always be sure to look for only bio active natural sources. Do not forget children and pets have different RDA levels for safe consumption. The majority of synthetic vitamins are not bio equivalent!

Caution for dogs.

*Dogs can not synthesize plant based flax seed oil Omega 3’s.


Anti-inflammatory oils like fish oils and olive oil have known beneficial effects which has been documented across thousands of studies. Many of these previous studies have failed to account for other dietary factors such as complex fatty acid combinations, the fats included in animal diets such as soy which have direct impact on the final animal product and oxidation that can quickly occur in some oils like fish oils. In addition it is being shown that while plant and fish oil based Omega 3’s were previously thought to be equal, current studies are showing they are not producing equal effects on defined parameters. Studies on these combined effects are producing clarity on the known benefits of healthy oils and why some plant based Omega 3 oils may not produce the same benefits as other Omega 3’s.

date nut muffins

Date Nut Muffins are a classic British teatime treat made with sweet dates and toasted walnuts.

Date nut muffins are a handy variation on date nut bread, which originated in Great Britain (specifically Scotland) as a tea time treat. This recipe uses a small amount of brown sugar.

Recipe link

Oleic acid is necessary for proper brain function and cancer protection

What is Oleic Acid? Oleic acid is a fatty acid classified as a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that occurs naturally in various animal and vegetable fats and oils. One of the most common fats in human breast milk Makes up 25% of fat in cow’s milk Alpha-lactalbumin joins with oleic acid to fight cancer cells. Myelin is a protective covering or sheath that twists around nerves (neurons), including nerves in the brain. Myelin is made of 70% fat and 30% protein. Oleic acid is one of the most common fats in myelin. Oleic acid doesn’t just help synthesize myelin, it is also a cell signaling molecule. Oleic acid regulates cholesterol and lipogenesis (making fat) in the brain. Oleic acid (OA)-bound partially unfolded α-lactalbumin (α-LA) forms the complex HAMLET (Human αlactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells) BAMLET is (Bovine Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). BAMLET is actually shown to be more effective than HAMLET. The benefits of oleic acid are many and include reduction of cellular debris and accumulating protein deposits in the brain through phagocytosis, an action occurring due to fermentation of oleic acid. Oleic acid produces reduction of inflammation as an anti inflammatory fatty acid as the result of numerous stressors. Oleic acid provides protective effects for nerves and fights cancer.

How long to change your fatty acid profile?

In the immune system, almost immediately. Changes will first take place in cells of the immune system that have a lifetime of 2 – 9 days before they are renewed, then in skin cells that have a lifetime of 14 – 20 days, and eventually in red blood cells that have a lifetime of 120 days. Stability in Omega-3 level in blood is achieved after 14 – 16 weeks.

  • Don’t forget most fish oils show similar benefits, including cod liver oil. Vitamin E increases benefits in some fish oils prone to rancidity. Marine oil Omega 3’s show greater efficacy than Omega 3 plant based oils (flax). Salmon oil and other fish oils are often high in oleic acid, the same beneficial fatty acid as found in olive oil.

Oils effect inflammation or hyper-inflammation regardless of immune state or HLA-DR expression

Fish oil benefits hyper-inflammatory conditions 

The decreased expression of HLA-DR on simultaneously or previously activated but not on nonactivated human monocytes/ macrophages after fish oil suggests a potential benefit in the use for hyper-inflammatory conditions followed by an immunodeficiency state, as occurs in sepsis, severe trauma, and burns.

Fish oil influences HLA-DR expression

  • Fish oil favorably effects macrophage activation
  • Fish oil is protective against chronic inflammation
  • Fish oil distinctively influences activated macrophages

HLA-DR is effected by oils and this and other gene expressions may be reversible. A range and correct ratio of fatty acids (LCFA’s, MCFA’s and SCFA’s) are required to produce modulating health benefit and to prevent extreme effects on the immune system including during a state of macrophage activation. 

*Mct oil is known to cause severe inflammation and oxidative stress in colitis.

 *Soy oil is commonly found to have negative consequence in numerous studies. 

*Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen-presenting cells of the mammalian immune system. Their main function is to process antigen material and present it on the cell surface to the T cells of the immune system. They act as messengers between the innate and the adaptive immune systems.

*HLA-DR is also involved in several autoimmune conditions, disease susceptibility and disease resistance. 

Sugar has an oxidizing effect on all oils and will cause rancidity, even in healthy oils.

Remember, no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. The AHA limits for children vary depending on their age and caloric needs, but range between 3-6 teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day. Children under two should have zero grams of sugar per day.

If you like natural health tips like the ones above you can learn more in Immune For Life