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Imbalance of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Lead to "Inherited Obesity"

A study conducted by researchers with the Universite de Nice, France found that having too little of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and too much of the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid could lead to "inherited obesity." Their findings were published in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.

For the study the researchers fed mice a “western like fat diet” high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3s over the course of 4 generations.

The researchers found that the mice had a gradual increase of fat mass across generations, showing that a westernized diet can possibly create “trans-generational obesity”. In other words, mice seemed to inherit obesity traits from their predecessors.

These findings may shine some light on one of the causes of the obesity epidemic that is sweeping the Western world. Over the past 40 years not only have western populations increased the amount of calories they ingest, they are also consuming 40% less omega-3 fatty acids and a whopping 250% more omega-6 fatty acids.

The benefits derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids range from boosting heart health to reducing the risk of mortality. However, an imbalance in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 intake can lead to serious health consequences.

Consuming more omega-3s like ALA, EPA and DHA is therefore essential. You can get your daily dose of omega-3s by consuming more flaxseed oil, fatty fish and olive oil. You can also find omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form.

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