STOCKHOLM, July 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — New research shows that dietary fats impact gut bacteria – some for the better (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs) and some for the worse (omega-6 PUFAs).
The omega-3s EPA and DHA found in seafood and marine oils may reduce inflammation and increase beneficial microorganisms to protect against gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. These findings were presented at the 11th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) in Stockholm 1 July, 2014.
Research shows that dietary choices and certain microorganisms in the GI tract can contribute to the prevention or development of inflammatory bowel disease, colitis (inflammation of the colon) and Crohn’s disease. PUFAs in particular affect microbes living in the intestine known as “gut microbiota.”
Deanna Gibson, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues examined the effects of omega-3 and -6 PUFAs in mice infected with GI bacteria that causes colitis. Those fed omega-6 PUFA (corn oil) diets had higher intestinal damage, immune cell damage and production of harmful bacteria. In contrast, diets high in EPA and DHA increased anti-inflammatory microbes, which reduced immune cell damage and inflammation as well as protected against the damage of colitis. However, the mice taking these omega-3 fats suffered sepsis (whole body inflammation due to severe infection) because their immune responses needed to survive infection were impaired.
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