Fatty acids, as you probably know, have a big role to play in keeping you healthy. Countless studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are key nutrients for protecting against heart disease. But thereâs another type of fatty acid that you might not know about thatâs equally important when it comes to preserving heart health, and itâs called linoleic acid.
A recent study looked at fatty acid levels and how they change as we age. The researchers noted that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower the risk for sudden cardiac death and for acute coronary syndromes. But higher linoleic acid levels have also been associated with improved heart disease outcomes. For these reasons, the researchers wanted to find out what happens to the bodyâs ability to utilize fatty acids as we grow older.
Fatty acid profiles from about 160,000 patients (48% from males, 52% from females) were measured by the research team. Hereâs what they found:
â¢ Compared to men, women generally had higher trans fat levels
â¢ Saturated (41% of total) and trans fats did not change much by age, whereas monounsaturated fats tended to rise slightly
â¢ Of the two major omega-6 polyunsaturates, arachidonic and linoleic acids, the former was unchanged across decades, whereas the latter decreased by about two percent
â¢ Omega-3s increased by about 1.5% across decades.
â¢ Both omega-3 and linoleic acid stabilized after age 70.
Thatâs some food for thought for those of you who are in your 50s or 60s. Follow this health advice, and consider boosting your intake of linoleic acid to help protect your heart. Linoleic acid can be found in safflower, sunflower, grape seed, and primrose oils
Sources for Today’s Articles:
These Heart-Healthy Fatty Acids Drop as You Age
Harris, W.S., et al., âErythrocyte omega-3 fatty acids increase and linoleic acid decreases with age: Observations from 160,000 patients,â Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids January 30, 2013; pii: S0952-3278(12)00211-6.