Polyunsaturated Fat Intake: Effects on the Heart and Brain

I'm revisiting the topic of the omega-6/omega-3 balance and total polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) intake because of some interesting studies I've gotten a hold of lately (thanks Robert). Two of the studies are in pigs, which I feel are a decent model organism for studying the effect of diet on health as it relates to humans. Pigs are omnivorous (although more slanted toward plant foods), have a similar digestive system to humans (although sturdier), are of similar size and fat composition to humans, and have been eating grains for about the same amount of time as humans.

In the last post on the omega-6/omega-3 balance, I came to the conclusion that a roughly balanced but relatively low intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fats is consistent with the diets of healthy non-industrial cultures. There were a few cultures that had a fairly high long-chain omega-3 intake from seafood (10% of calories), but none ate much omega-6.

first study explores the effect of omega-6 and omega-3 fats on heart function. Dr. Sheila Innis and her group fed young male pigs three different diets:
  1. An unbalanced, low PUFA diet. Pig chow with 1.2% linoleic acid (LA; the main omega-6 plant fat) and 0.06% alpha linolenic acid (ALA; the main omega-3 plant fat).
  2. A balanced, low PUFA diet. Pig chow with 1.4% LA and 1.2% ALA.
  3. An unbalanced, but better-than-average, "modern diet". Pig chow with 11.6% LA and 1.2% ALA.
After 30 days, they took a look at the pigs' hearts. Pigs from the first and third (unbalanced) groups contained more "pro-inflammatory" fats (arachidonic acid; AA) and less "anti-inflammatory" fats (EPA and DHA) than the second group. The first and third groups also experienced an excessive activation of "pro-inflammatory" proteins, such as COX-2, the enzyme inhibited by aspirin, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs.

The most striking finding of all was the difference in lipid peroxidation between groups. Lipid peroxidation is a measure of oxidative damage to cellular fats. In the balanced diet hearts, peroxidation was half the level found in the first group, and one-third the level found in the third group!
This shows that omega-3 fats exert a powerful anti-oxidant effect that can be more than counteracted by excessive omega-6. Nitrosative stress, another type of damage, tracked with n-6 intake regardless of n-3, with the third group almost tripling the first two. I think this result is highly relevant to the long-term development of cardiac problems, and perhaps cardiovascular disease in general.

another study with the same lead author Sanjoy Ghosh, rats fed a diet enriched in omega-6 from sunflower oil showed an increase in nitrosative damage, damage to mitochondrial DNA, and a decrease in maximum cardiac work capacity (i.e., their hearts were weaker). This is consistent with the previous study and shows that the mammalian heart does not like too much omega-6! The amount of sunflower oil these rats were eating (20% food by weight) is not far off from the amount of industrial oil the average American eats.

A third paper by Dr. Sheila Innis' group studied the effect of the omega-6 : omega-3 balance on the brain fat composition of pigs, and the development of neurons
in vitro (in a culture dish). There were four diets, the first three similar to those in the first study:
  1. Deficient. 1.2% LA and 0.05% ALA.
  2. Contemporary. 10.7% LA and 1.1% ALA.
  3. Evolutionary. 1.2% LA and 1.1% ALA.
  4. Supplemented. The contemporary diet plus 0.3% AA and 0.3% DHA.
The first thing they looked at was the ability of the animals to convert ALA to DHA and concentrate it in the brain. DHA is critical for brain and eye development and maintenance. The evolutionary diet was most effective at putting DHA in the brain, with the supplemented diet a close second and the other three lagging behind. The evolutionary diet was the only one capable of elevating EPA, another important fatty acid derived from ALA. If typical fish oil rather than isolated DHA and AA had been given as the supplement, that may not have been the case. Overall, the fatty acid composition of the brain was quite different in the evolutionary group than the other three groups, which will certainly translate into a variety of effects on brain function.

The researchers then cultured neurons and showed that they require DHA to develop properly in culture, and that long-chain omega-6 fats are a poor substitute. Overall, the paper shows that the modern diet causes a major fatty acid imbalance in the brain, which is expected to lead to developmental problems and probably others as well. This can be partially corrected by supplementing with fish oil.

Together, these studies are a small glimpse of the countless effects we are having on every organ system, by eating fats that are unfamiliar to our pre-industrial bodies. In the next post, I'll put this information into the context of the modern human diet.

Living Room Furniture

The living room is one of the most important rooms in the house in where your family will spends their time to organizes holidays and parties, receives visitors and relaxes (Home Design). That is the reason why We need to arrange and design Our living room to put Our self comfortable at home, including choose of living room's furniture models.

You can see Our photo gallery about living room furniture items, Home furnishing styles including leather, traditional, contemporary, and modern with an expanding selection of sectionals and recliners.

Living room furniture Chair

Living room furniture Sofa

Living room furniture are including Chair, Sofa, Table, Small cabinet and Big cabinets. In order to get nice look, You have to decide first whether you want to set your living room as traditional design, modern design or romantic design. After that you can start to choose kind of living room furniture, color and models according to the living room situation.

Living room furniture Small Cabinets

Living room furniture Big Cabinets

Ensure that your living room furniture match with your existing decor and enhance the look of your living room. Whether you need an entertainment center, occasional tables, or any other living room furniture items.

Got asthma? An extra reason to get your flu shot

Fever, aches and chills. Yuck! Flu season is upon us, and for many who come down with these symptoms, a few days in bed and plenty of fluid may be just what the doctor orders. But if you’re one of the more than 22 million Americans with asthma, the flu can lead to conditions that are much worse.

When you have asthma, your airways are already somewhat inflamed. They overreact to irritants and allergens, including viruses. Rather than fighting the virus, your lungs may secrete substances that promote inflammation. Making matters worse, viruses can replicate themselves more extensively in lungs affected by asthma than in healthy lungs.

Therefore, many health experts recommend that people with asthma get an annual flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with asthma are at high risk of developing complications after contracting the flu virus, yet most adults with asthma don’t get their annual flu shot.

So if you have asthma, take steps to protect yourself from flu: Avoid people who are sick. Wash your hands regularly. And if you haven’t gotten your flu shot, get one today.

Christmas Creatures

Four Finger Exercises

Parking the car in Wisbech, Capital of The Fens, we notice this shop window. It's one of a number in a side street attached to a large rambling shop that still announces on its fascia board that they are drapers, outfitters and purveyors of trunks- which we assumed were the cabin variety rather than lido wear. Around the corner was the main entrance to Evison's, whose paper bag tells of their stock of Ladies' Wear, Knitting Wool, Gent's Clothing, Gent's Outfitting, Bed Linen, Suit Cases and Camping Equipment. And much, much more. We went in because in another window that displayed more gloves than could ever be put to use by an acid bath murderer, I spotted the back of a particularly nice-looking green tin alarm clock. "That's £5.99" I was told by the friendly girl assistant, "But it's so slow a customer brought it back". So you get the idea. Upstairs a friendly 'gent' who looked like he'd come straight from one of my grandfather's Wisbech Zion Baptist sermons, guided me to a huge stack of flat caps in an alcove. As he wrote out a written receipt to give to the girl downstairs (pin number keypad attached to a phone socket nowhere near a counter) he says "We had Ken Dodd in here. Couldn't get rid of 'im". I asked if he was looking for tickling sticks, which will assuredly be in here somewhere.

Health is Multi-Factorial

Thanks to commenter Brock for pointing me to this very interesting paper, "Effects of fish oil on hypertension, plasma lipids, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in rats with sucrose-induced metabolic syndrome". As we know, sugar gives rats metabolic syndrome when it's added to regular rat chow, probably the same thing it does to humans when added to a processed food diet.

One thing has always puzzled me about sugar. It doesn't appear to cause major metabolic problems when added to an otherwise healthy diet, yet it wreaks havoc in other contexts. One example of the former situation is the
Kuna, who are part hunter-gatherer, part agricultural. They eat a lot of refined sugar, but in the context of chocolate, coconut, fish, plantains, root vegetables and limited grains and beans, they are relatively healthy. Perhaps not quite on the same level as hunter-gatherer groups, but healthier than the average modernized person from the point of view of the diseases of civilization.

This paper really sheds light on the matter. The researchers gave a large group of rats access to drinking water containing 30% sucrose, in addition to their normal rat chow, for 21 weeks. The rats drank 4/5 of their calories in the form of sugar water. There's no doubt that this is an extreme treatment. They subsequently developed metabolic syndrome, including abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting insulin, elevated triglycerides, elevated total cholesterol and LDL, lowered HDL, greatly increased serum uric acid, greatly elevated liver enzymes suggestive of
liver damage, and increased tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is a hormone secreted by visceral (abdominal) fat tissue that may play a role in promoting insulin resistance.

After this initial 12-week treatment, they divided the metabolic syndrome rats into two groups:
  • One that continued the sugar treatment, along with a diet enriched in corn and canola oil (increased omega-6).
  • A second that continued the sugar treatment, along with a diet enriched in fish oil (increased omega-3).
The two diets contained the same total amount of polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), but had very different omega-6 : omega-3 ratios. The first had a ratio of 9.3 (still better than the average American), while the second had a ratio of 0.02, with most of the omega-3 in the second group coming from EPA and DHA (long-chain, animal omega-3s). The second diet also contained four times as much saturated fat as the first, mostly in the form of palmitic acid.

Compared to the vegetable oil group, the fish oil group had lower fasting insulin, lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, and lower LDL. As a matter of fact,
the fish oil group looked as good or better on all these parameters than a non-sugar fed control group receiving the extra vegetable oil alone (although the control group isn't perfect because it inevitably ate more vegetable oil-containing chow to make up for the calories it wasn't consuming in sugar). The only things reducing vegetable oil and increasing fish oil didn't fix were the weight and the elevated TNF-alpha, although they didn't report the level of liver enzymes in these groups. The TNF-alpha finding is not surprising, since it's secreted by visceral fat, which did not decrease in the fish oil group.

I think this is a powerful result. It may have been done in rats, but the evidence is there for a similar mechanism in humans. The Kuna have a very favorable omega-6 : omega-3 ratio, with most of their fat coming from highly saturated coconut and cocoa. This may protect them from their high sugar intake. The Kitavans also have a very favorable omega-6 : omega-3 ratio, with most of their fat coming from coconuts and fish. They don't eat refined sugar, but they do eat a tremendous amount of starch and a generous amount of fruit.

The paper also suggests that the metabolic syndrome is largely reversible.

I believe that both excessive sugar and
excessive omega-6 from modern vegetable oils are a problem individually. But if you want to have a much bigger problem, try combining them!

Real Food X: Roasted Marrow Bones

Bone marrow is a food that has been prized throughout history-- from hunter-gatherer tribes to haute cuisine chefs. It's not hard to understand why, once you've tasted it. It's delicate, meaty and fatty. It's also rich in fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins K1 and K2, although this will depend on what the animal has eaten.

Roasted marrow bones make a simple appetizer. Beef bones are the best because of their size. Select wide bones that are cut about three inches long. They should be from the femur or the humerus, called the "shank bones". These are sometimes available in the frozen meats section of a grocery store, otherwise a butcher can procure them. If you have access to a farmer's market that sells meats, vendors will typically have bones cut for you if you request it.

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C).
  2. Place bones, cut side up, in a baking dish or oven-proof skillet.
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the marrow begins to separate from the bone, but not much longer because it will turn to mush.
  4. Scoop out and eat the marrow by itself, on sourdough rye toast or however you please.
  5. Make soup stock from the leftover bones.

The Mighty Fallen

There is something elegiac about a fallen tree. The end of all those years of growth, of providing nesting places for birds and homes to colonies of various tiny insects who relied on its thousands of crevices for shelter and nutrition. The end of shading foliage in summer, the loss of a gaunt winter silhouette; and no longer pirate ship, hideaway or just a place to think for a child. This ash was recently felled on the Rutland / Leicestershire border at Stockerston (you can see the county sign just up the road), and I hope and suppose it was beyond help, rather than a hindrance at the entrance to the field. I took the photograph because we usually see trees, dead or alive, as they should be, standing proud against the sky, and I wanted to capture it before the chainsaw whirred into action in order to feed local woodburners. The scene also reminded me of Monster Field, the last publication of Paul Nash before his death in 1946. His wife Margaret had bought him a pocket Kodak camera for his trip to the States in 1931, and as his asthma took hold and he could no longer spend long periods out of doors sketching, he relied increasingly on the little camera to provide references for his paintings. You can see two of his fallen tree photographs in this book, looking like giant stick insects grazing in fields.

Vitamin K2 in Marrow

I'm always on the lookout for foods rich in vitamin K2 MK-4, because it's so important and so rare in the modern food system. I heard some internet rumors that marrow might be rich in fat-soluble vitamins. Google let me down, so I decided to look through the rat studies on K2 MK-4 in which they looked at its tissue distribution.

I found one that looked at the K2 MK-4 content in different tissues of rats fed vitamin K1. Marrow was rich in K2, along with testes. It contains 10-20 times more MK-4 than liver by weight, and more than any of the other organs they tested (serum, liver, spleen, kidney, heart, testes, marrow, brain) except testes. They didn't include values for salivary gland and pancreas, the two richest sources.

If we assume beef marrow has the same amount of MK-4 as rat marrow per weight (I have no idea if this is really the case, but it's probably in the ballpark), two ounces of beef marrow would contain about 10 micrograms MK-4. Not a huge source, but significant nevertheless.

Bone marrow was a prized food in many hunter-gatherer societies. Let's see what Dr. Weston Price has to say about it (from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration):
For the Indians living inside the Rocky Mountain Range in the far North of Canada, the successful nutrition for nine months of the year was largely limited to wild game, chiefly moose and caribou. During the summer months the Indians were able to use growing plants. During the winter some use was made of bark and buds of trees. I found the Indians putting great emphasis upon the eating of the organs of the animals, including the wall of parts of the digestive tract. Much of the muscle meat of the animals was fed to the dogs. It is important that skeletons are rarely found where large game animals have been slaughtered by the Indians of the North. The skeletal remains are found as piles of finely broken bone chips or splinters that have been cracked up to obtain as much as possible of the marrow and nutritive qualities of the bones. These Indians obtain their fat-soluble vitamins and also most of their minerals from the organs of the animals. An important part of the nutrition of the children consisted in various preparations of bone marrow, both as a substitute for milk and as a special dietary ration.
Here's a bit more about these same groups, also from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration:
The condition of the teeth, and the shape of the dental arches and the facial form, were superb. Indeed, in several groups examined not a single tooth was found that had ever been attacked by tooth decay. In an examination of eighty-seven individuals having 2,464 teeth only four teeth were found that had ever been attacked by dental caries. This is equivalent to 0.16 per cent. As we came back to civilization and studied, successively, different groups with increasing amounts of contact with modern civilization, we found dental caries increased progressively, reaching 25.5 per cent of all of the teeth examined at Telegraph Creek, the point of contact with the white man's foods. As we came down the Stikine River to the Alaskan frontier towns, the dental caries problem increased to 40 per cent of all of the teeth.
Evidently, the traditionally-living groups were doing something right.

Join a team of heroes and help protect your community

Citizens of Metropolis face an uncertain threat. They are not prepared for an emergency. Potential disaster looms. Who do community leaders call? The Avengers? Justice League of America? The Fantastic Four?

No, they contact their Community Emergency Response Team. Response teams don’t possess superpowers, but they do rely on heroes in our communities — people like you and me — who are dedicated to preparing for an emergency.

In towns around the country, teams organize and train volunteers to safely help themselves and others in case of an emergency. Teams don't seek to replace emergency service providers, but they do help prepare average residents to take care of themselves and others if responders cannot immediately assist them.

Trainees in Community Emergency Response Team programs learn the basics of utility management, fire safety, search and rescue, incident planning and organization, and disaster medical operations so they can safely assist themselves and others. Teams also support their local emergency response providers by participating in preparedness drills and other community events that require extra help.

Response team members come from all walks of life — young, old, working, in school, stay-at-home or retired, it doesn't matter. If you want to be better prepared or help your community, you can join! Some members already have emergency response or public health experience, but many are just ordinary residents looking to better prepare themselves, their neighborhoods and their workplaces for minor and major emergencies.

Ready to help? Check out the Community Emergency Response Team Web site to locate a group in your area. Find out how you can join a team of heroes and help protect your community (superhero capes and tights not required).

coffee table

floating coffee table

Functional bi-level design with cubby area offers ample space for storage and display. Durable wood construction. Assembly required. Chocolate.

zen coffee table

Simple, straightforward lines with a distinctly Asian flair. Two-tiered tables have subtly angled legs; bottom shelf provides storage or display space. Wood construction. Simple assembly. Chocolate oak veneer.

round curved leg coffee table

Sturdy wood construction. Simple assembly.

parsons storage coffee table

Clean, open design with spacious shelving below. Wood construction. The unique brush lines on the bronze pieces are applied by hand using a cashmere brush. A cashmere brush enhances the smoothness and evenness of the painted finish. Assembly required. Bronze, polished white or chocolate.

bridge coffee + side table

A long, low coffee table is designed to be used alone or together with a smooth lacquer side. Fully assembled. Wood construction; oak veneer.

sliding-top coffee table

A sliding top reveals valuable hidden storage space. Wood construction. Simple assembly. Chocolate oak veneer.

angled-leg coffee table

The simple, clean look of this solid wood and wood construction coffee table comes in either polished cinnabar or “limed” chocolate. The liming finish dates back hundreds of years. It was designed to enhance wood’s natural grain and is achieved by painting over the wood and then wiping the paint off. West elm uses the same technique to create our new super chic, easy-to-care-for limed chocolate finish. Assembly required. Polished cinnabar or limed chocolate.

faceted-frame coffee table

Within a beautifully faceted frame is a versatile display and storage shelf. Solid wood with wood construction. Chocolate oak veneer or gray stain. Two hidden storage drawers.

bridge coffee + side table, chocolate

A long, low coffee table is designed to be used alone or together with a smooth lacquer side. Fully assembled. Wood construction; oak veneer. Chocolate.

modern floor lamps

Sleek and stylish beside a chair, sofa or desk. Polished-nickel-finished iron. Adjustable height. Simple assembly.

Pleated white fabric shade; sturdy iron base. Simple assembly. UL listed. Black nickel base. Floor lamp pivots side to side, but shade height is not adjustable.

Adjustable tripod base, topped with a white fabric drum shade. Gunmetal or polished nickel base.

Sturdy iron base, cotton shade. Simple assembly. 150W bulb (not included). UL listed. Polished nickel with white shade.

Cascades of natural shell above a polished-metal base. 100W bulb (not included). UL listed. Simple assembly.

Mod geometric base and white fabric shade. Wood construction. UL listed. Chocolate zebrawood veneer base.

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Cool, modern illumination. Faux leather-wrapped iron base, topped with a white cotton shade. Simple assembly.

modern dressers & armoires

Space, cubed. This collection features gliding drawers and makes a statement in clean, geometric lines. Select styles are available in chocolate, white and blonde.Please select a product before continuing.

Clean-cut cool. The clean, simple lines of the Hudson collection contain several roomy drawers that open on wood gliders. Choose from acorn and chocolate.Please select a product before continuing.

Get more room in every room with our latest storage pieces including stylish side tables and mirrored cabinets.Please select a product before continuing.

Building block chic. Pieces in the Low Platform collection look as if they're floating in the room. They work well with our platform bed. Available in chocolate, blonde and gray.Please select a product before continuing.

This clean, modern collection is the first and last word in minimal chic. It comes in 6 or 3 drawer models and a night stand. Available in chocolate.Please select a product before continuing.

Fabulous legs. The Narrow Leg storage collection is known for its shapely, angular legs and smart metal drawer pulls. Choose from chocolate, white, blonde and acorn.Please select a product before continuing.

Intersecting lines of metal. Hardwood construction. Pieces coordinate with our metal-inlay headboard. Simple assembly. Chocolate.

Shaker chic, with clean, straightforward lines and substantial presence. Wood construction. All pieces are designed to complement our headboards and bed frames. Drawers open on smooth metal glides. Fully assembled. Chocolate finish.

modern table lamps

A new angle on illumination. Resin base, white cotton shade

Sturdy iron base, cotton shade. Simple assembly. 100W bulb (not included). UL listed. Polished nickel with white shade or black nickel with black shade.

Gray glass base with white cotton shade or antiqued gold base with natural linen shade. Simple assembly.

A fringe of translucent natural shells, cut and strung by hand. Polished-nickel base. Simple assembly.

Wood base and a fabric shade. 100W bulb (not included). UL listed. Mushroom, cinnabar or chocolate base with white shade.

Lighting in the round for table or floor. Spherical base in silver glass is topped with an oh-so-tall white fabric shade; also available in clear-glaze ceramic base

Mod geometric base and white fabric shade. Wood construction. UL listed. Chocolate zebrawood veneer base.

Frosted-glass base with white textured cotton shade.

Natural capiz, reimagined as luminous lighting. Shells laminated over wood base, topped with a fabric shade. UL listed. Gray/platinum or ivory/white.

Adjustable base, topped with a white fabric drum shade. Gunmetal base or polished nickel.

Reflective metal base and white fabric shade.

modern wall decor

A beautiful Japanese cherry blossom tree is given a touch of flair with the addition of abstract rectangular panels in a modern styling. The vivid use of color really shines with the gold, copper, and silver finishes that combine in this piece. Add this lovely modern wall sculpture to your home for an updated look.

Decorative wall sculpture
Constructed of iron
Black with brushed Gold finish
Overall dimensions: 32" H x 53.625" W x 4" D

Decorative art sculpture
Hand painted
Solid iron
An arrangement of cat tails
Overall dimensions: 24.75" H x 27.5" W x 4" D

Decorative metal wall sculpture
Brown metal finish
Metal construction
Overall dimensions: 39" H x 36.75" W x 3.5" D

Decorative metal wall sculpture
Green finish
Metal construction
Overall dimensions: 18" H x 31.5" W x 2" D

Decorative metal wall sculpture
Hand-painted multicolored finish
Metal construction
Overall dimensions: 40.13" H x 17.75" W x 3" D

This decorative wall art will add style to any wall it's displayed on. Its neutral color scheme will compliment any decor in your home. This decorative metal wall arts will add a strong, yet elegant feel to any room in your home.

Bring in color, style and cheer to your home with the Out-of-the-Box Wall Hanging in mustard. This original and hip wall hanging features twisted abaca and fun mustard color that express imagination and creativity. Mix and match as many panels as you wish in various colors from the same collection to distinguish your own personal style.

A great decor solution for the mechanically inclined or for those who just wish to be, this clock is for you. With a rugged design of oversized sprockets, this wall sculpture is constructed out of hand painted metal.

Decorative wall art
Constructed of metal
Muiltiple colors
Overall dimensions: 27.5" H x 42" W x 2.875" D