Navigation Links
The Quarterly Review of Biology: Why some fats are worse than others
Date:8/27/2012

All dietary fats are not created equal. Some types of fats have been linked to ailments like heart disease and diabetes, while others, like those often found in plants and fish, have well documented health benefits.

So why do our bodies respond so destructively to some fats but not others?

A new hypothesis described in latest issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology suggests the answer may lie in how different fats interact with the microbes in our guts. According to researchers from the University of New Mexico and Northwestern University, some fats may encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Our bodies have evolved to recognize those fats and launch an immune response to preempt the impeding changes in harmful bacteria. The result is low-level inflammation that, over the long term, causes chronic disease.

"Although the inflammatory effects of [fats] are well documented, it is less well appreciated that they also influence bacterial survival and proliferation in the gastrointestinal tract," write the researchers, led by Joe Alcock, of the University of New Mexico Department of Emergency Medicine and VA Medical Center.

Some fatsmostly unsaturated fatsactually have strong antimicrobial properties. They react chemically with bacterial cell membranes, weakening them. "If you expose unsaturated fats on bacteria, the bacteria have a tendency to lyse. The combination of long chain unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, and innate host defenses like gastric acid and antimicrobial peptides, is particularly lethal to pathogenic bacteria," Alcock said. Saturated fats on the other hand generally lack those antimicrobial properties, and in fact can provide a carbon source that bacteria need to grow and flourish.

And it's these differing microbial effects, Alcock believes, that are at the root of why some fats are inflammatory and some aren't. To test that notion, the researchers poured through years of research on both the microbial effects of fats and their inflammatory effects.

"We found a highly significant relationship between those fats that had antimicrobial properties and those that had anti-inflammatory properties," Alcock said. "Fats that lack antimicrobial properties tended to be pro-inflammatory. It was a very, very strong relationship."

In a sense, the researchers say, the presence of saturated fats sets off an "early warning system" in the body. When fats that encourage bacterial growth are present, the body prepares for unwelcome microbial guests with an inflammatory immune response. And while that response may help fend off infection in the short term, the constant presence of such fats could cause the body to spiral into diseases related to inflammation, like heart disease.

The researchers caution that while this hypothesis is well supported by current data, there's much more research to be done.

"We have a pretty good idea that eating fatty foods encourages the growth and invasiveness of harmful microbiota and we know that certain fats kill off these potentially harmful species," Alcock said. "But we're making a bit of a leap from the Petri dish to the whole organism."

"We don't intend this to be the final word. Rather it's a tool to generate additional hypotheses that can be tested."


'/>"/>
Contact: Joe Alcock
joalcock@salud.unm.edu
505-414-0490
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Westlake Chemical Increases Quarterly Dividend By Over 150%
2. Wiley launches new interdisciplinary review WIREs Energy and Environment
3. New review outlines screening strategies for osteoporosis in young adults
4. New peer-reviewed journal on big data launching in Fall 2012
5. Research4Life greatly expands peer-reviewed research available to developing world
6. UH makes Princeton Reviews Green List 3 years in a row
7. Infection biology: The elusive third factor
8. Why getting healthy can seem worse than getting sick
9. AGU: Gasoline worse than diesel when it comes to some types of air pollution
10. Infants of overweight mothers grow more slowly
11. Brothers in arms: Commensal bacteria help fight viruses
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)...  A new partnership announced today will help ... in a fraction of the time it takes ... life insurance policies to consumers without requiring inconvenient ... Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) and ... weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available at ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... , March 29, 2016 ... "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to ... ink used in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring ... of originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will ... analysis of the DNA. Bill Bollander ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... HOUSTON , June 23, 2016 ... agreement with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve ... of the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide ... education and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes ... partner with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
Breaking Biology Technology: