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Wake Forest researchers say popular fish contains potentially dangerous fatty acid combination
Date:7/8/2008

salmon and trout.

The article notes that "there is a controversy among scientists in this field as to the importance of arachidonic acid or omega-6:omega-3 ratios vs. the concentration of long-chain omega-3 alone with regard to their effects in human biology." Those issues are raised in an editorial in the same issue of the Journal.

The Wake Forest article anticipates that criticism and notes that one human study involving AA showed a probable gene-nutrient connection to coronary heart disease in a specific group of heart disease patients. In another study, four subjects were removed after consumption of high amounts of AA due to concerns about the effect of the acid on their blood platelets.

Floyd H. "Ski" Chilton, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology and director of the Wake Forest Center for Botanical Lipids, is the senior author of the Journal article. He said that in next month's Journal, he will publish a rebuttal to this month's editorial.

"We have known for three decades that arachidonic acid is the substrate for all pro-inflammatory lipid mediators," Chilton said in an interview. "The animal studies say unequivocally that if you feed arachidonic acid, the animals show signs of inflammation and get sick.

"A New England Journal of Medicine article three years ago said if you had heart disease and had a certain genetic makeup, and you ate arachidonic acid, the diameter of your coronary artery was smaller, a major risk factor for a heart attack," said Chilton. "My point is that it's likely not worth the risk in this or other vulnerable populations."

Chilton said tilapia is easily farmed using inexpensive corn-based feeds, which contain short chain omega-6s that the fish very efficiently convert to AA and place in their tissues. This ability to feed the fish inexpensive foods, together with their capacity to grow under almost any condition, keeps the market price for the fish so l
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Contact: Mark Wright
mwright@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3382
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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