Supplementing with fish oil while using low linoleic acid cooking oils can lower levels of blood fats, blood sugar and other markers of heart disease, say Danish researchers.
In this new study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, 64 healthy young men were assigned to different types of oil for supplementation and cooking. The first group took fish oil and used cooking oils that were high in linoleic acid; the second took fish oil - but cooked with fats that were low in linoleic acid.
The fish oil users were compared to men who supplemented with olive oil while using cooking oils that varied in linoleic acid content.
Linoleic acid is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid that appears to promote hardening of the arteries. Cooking oils that are low in linoleic acid include olive oil and sunflower oil; Canola, corn and peanut oils are high in linoleic acid.
After eight weeks, men who supplemented with fish oil and used cooking oils that were low in linoleic acid experienced a greater drop in blood fats (triglycerides). Taking fish oil while on the low linoleic acid diet also improved blood sugar control.
Men who supplemented with olive oil saw similar changes in blood fats and blood sugar levels. Like the fish oil users, olive oil users on the low linoleic acid diet did slightly better than those who cooked with high linoleic acid oils.
In previous studies, linoleic acid has been shown to promote inflammation of blood vessel walls. This is the first study to show that a diet low in linoleic acid may enhance the heart benefits of fish oil and olive oil.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, about 45 percent of Canadian men between the ages of 20 and 29 are at risk for heart disease.
For more information on nutrition strategies to control heart disease risk, check out Leslie Beck's Foods that Fight Disease.
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