Feature: The Top Oils For Health©

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The Top Oils For Health

Why are studies conflicting on the known benefits of healthy oils?

Many oils are prone to oxidation, in addition many oils contain both pro and anti- flammatory effects within their composition. What feed products animals consume can have far reaching consequence. 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.

Dietary oxidized lipids promote inflammation

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 pro- inflammatory 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.

Dietary components alter inflammation

Dietary components, particularly those with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as phytochemicals, may be important in preventing or limiting intestinal barrier alterations. Although there is a very limited number of human trials that have focused on gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders with respect to polyphenols intervention, several studies have shown the positive effects that polyphenols may play, in particular in IBD. Some studies show that an extra virgin olive oil diet enriched with phenolic compounds mitigate the severity of DSS-induced colitis, and alleviate clinical and signs of damage of colonic segments, suppressing oxidative events and inhibiting pro- inflammatory protein expression. The main classes of extra virgin olive oil phenols are phenolic acids, phenolic alcohols, flavonoids, secoiridoids and lignans. Most of them have shown a broad spectrum of antioxidant, free radical scavenger and anti-inflammatory effects, which makes them promising dietary supplements in a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, including IBD. The anti-inflammatory activity of olive oil polyphenols seems to be related to their ability to inhibit the pro- inflammatory activity of oxidants-generating enzymes and to modulate different intracellular signaling pathways.

EPA’s in fish oil

Colonoscopy is regarded as the gold standard for detection of colorectal cancer and its precursors. This procedure should be able to prevent colorectal cancer by detecting and removing those precursor lesions. Despite these preventive measures, post- colonoscopy colorectal cancers (PCCRCs) occur at a frequency of up to 8%. The naturally occurring omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has clinical proof of concept as a polyp-reducing agent from a randomized controlled trial in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. 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 combined 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.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a group of eight fat soluble compounds that include four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Vitamin E deficiency, which is rare and usually due to an underlying problem with digesting dietary fat rather than from a diet low in vitamin E, can cause nerve problems. The crucial function played by Vitamin E that makes it a vitamin is poorly understood, but may involve antioxidant functions in cell membranes. Other theories hold that vitamin E – specifically the RRR stereoisomer of alpha-tocopherol – act by controlling gene expression and cell signal transduction. Vitamin E was discovered in 1922, isolated in 1935 and first synthesized in 1938. Because the vitamin activity was first identified as essential for fertilized eggs to result in live births (in rats), it was given the name “tocopherol” from Greek words meaning birth and to bear or carry. Alpha-tocopherol, either naturally extracted from plant oils or synthetic, is sold as a popular dietary supplement, either by itself or incorporated into a multivitamin product, and in oils or lotions for use on skin. 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.

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.

Fish or Plant Based Omega 3’s?

Marine-derived n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been shown to inhibit mammary carcinogenesis. However, evidence regarding plant-based α-linolenic acid (ALA), the major n-3 PUFA in the Western diet, remains equivocal. Anti-tumorigenic effects were associated with altered HER2, pHER-2, pAkt and Ki-67 protein expression. Compared to 10% Safflower Flax Oil, 3% Fish Oil significantly down- regulated 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.

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

In conclusion

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 oils may not produce the same benefits as others in the same category as was previously assumed.

Some known benefits of healthy oils:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  •  Promote weight loss
  • Affect gene expression
  • Affect hormonal balance
  • Promote gut homeostasis
  • Repair bone degeneration
  •  Repair tissue
  • Anti polyp, anti lesion, and anti tumor
  • Reduce metastasis and promote apoptosis of cancer cells

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