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Omega-6 fatty acids: Can they cause heart disease?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/omega-6/AN02030
- With Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist
Donald Hensrud, M.D.read biographyclose window
Donald Hensrud, M.D.Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.
Dr. Donald D. Hensrud is chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine with a joint appointment in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, & Nutrition at Mayo Clinic. He is an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. Hensrud directed the Executive Health Program at Mayo Clinic for more than 10 years.
He received his B.S. from the University of North Dakota, M.D. from the University of Hawaii, M.P.H. from the University of Minnesota and M.S. in nutrition sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in preventive medicine at Mayo Clinic and completed a clinical nutrition fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Hensrud is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists, of which he is a past president.
His career interests have combined nutrition, weight management, and prevention. He is the author of many scientific articles and book chapters and was editor of Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody; The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook, which won a 2005 James Beard Foundation award; The Mayo Clinic Plan: 10 Essential Steps to a Better Body & Healthier Life; and The Mayo Clinic Diet, published in January 2010.
Dr. Hensrud says healthy lifestyle habits in diet and physical activity are extremely important as evidenced by a large body of scientific evidence. He also says implementing these lifestyle habits is realistic, sustainable and enjoyable. A primary goal of his work is to help people achieve this.
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Omega-6 fatty acids: Can they cause heart disease?
What are omega-6 fatty acids? Can eating omega-6 fatty acids cause heart disease?
from Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. When eaten in moderation and in place of the saturated fats found in meats and dairy products, omega-6 fatty acids can actually be good for your heart and brain.
There had been some controversy regarding omega-6 fatty acids. Some researchers had believed that omega-6 fatty acids metabolize in your body to become a type of fatty acid that can cause the lining of your arteries to become inflamed and damaged. That damage causes narrowing in your arteries, which can lead to heart disease.
However, the American Heart Association (AHA) has said that this view is incorrect. The AHA recommends that people eat between 5 and 10 percent of their daily calories from omega-6 fatty acids. Most people already eat this amount of omega-6 fatty acids. If you're concerned about the amount of omega-6 fatty acids you're eating, talk to your doctor about replacing some of the saturated fats in your diet with healthier options.Next question
Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
- Harris WS, et al. Omega-6 fatty acids and risk for cardiovascular disease: A science advisory from the American Heart Association Nutrition Subcommittee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism; Council on Cardiovascular Nursing; and Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. Circulation. 2009;119:902.
- Top ten things to know: Omega-6 fatty acids and CVD risk. American Heart Association. http://my.americanheart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/documents/downloadable/ucm_319672.pdf. Accessed July 22, 2011.
- Jakobsen MU, et al. Major types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: A pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009;89:1425.
- Simopoulos AP. The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 2009;233:674.
- Calder PC, et al. Harmful, harmless or helpful? The n-6 fatty acid debate continues. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. 2011;14:115.
- Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids - Important for heart health. Clinical Nutrition Insight. 2010;35:1.