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American Heart Association Science Advisory - Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Make Them a Part of Heart-Healthy Eating
Date:1/26/2009

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The advisory reviewed a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials, and more than two dozen observational, cohort, case/control and ecological reports.

Observational studies showed that people who ate the most omega-6 fatty acids usually had the least heart disease. Other studies examined blood levels of omega-6 in heart patients compared with healthy people and found that patients with heart disease had lower levels of omega-6 in their blood.

In controlled trials in which researchers randomly assigned people to consume diets containing high versus low levels of omega-6 and then recorded the number of heart attacks over several years, those assigned to the higher omega-6 diets had less heart disease.

A meta-analysis of several trials indicated that replacing saturated fats with PUFA lowered risk for heart disease events by 24 percent. "When saturated fat in the diet is replaced by omega-6 PUFA, the blood cholesterol levels go down," Harris said. "This may be part of the reason why higher omega-6 diets are heart-healthy."

Co-authors are: Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D.; Eric Rimm, D.Sc.; Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D.; Lawrence Rudel, Ph.D.; Lawrence Appel, M.D.; Marguerite Engler, Ph.D.; Mary Engler, Ph.D.; and Frank Sacks, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

For more on good fats vs. bad fats, visit AmericanHeart.org/FacetheFats.

The American Heart Association receives funding primarily from individuals, foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are disclosed at

SOURCE American Heart Association
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