Unsaturated Fats and Longevity

Also see:
PUFA, Development, and Allergy Incidence
PUFA Accumulation & Aging
PUFA, Estrogen, Obesity and Early Onset of Puberty
Metabolism, Brain Size, and Lifespan in Mammals
“Curing” a High Metabolic Rate with Unsaturated Fats
Glucocorticoids, Cytochrome Oxidase, and Metabolism
Fat Deficient Animals – Activity of Cytochrome Oxidase
Toxicity of Stored PUFA
Protective “Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency”
Anti-Inflammatory Omega -9 Mead Acid (Eicosapentaenoic acid)
Ray Peat, PhD Quotes on Coconut Oil

They are advancing a myth about human nature, so I will advance a counter-myth. At the time people were growing their large brains they lived in the tropics. I suggest that in this time before the development of grain-based agriculture, they ate a diet that was relatively free of unsaturated fats and low in iron–based on tropical fruits. I suggest that the Boskop skull from Mt. Kilimanjaro was representative of people under those conditions, and that just by our present knowledge of the association of brain size with longevity, they–as various “Golden Age” myths claim–must have had a very long life-span. As people moved north and developed new ways of living, their consumption of unsaturated fats increased, their brain size decreased, and they aged rapidly. Neanderthal relics show that flaxseed was a staple of their diet. -Ray Peat, PhD

Animals that naturally have a relatively low level of highly unsaturated fats in their tissues have the greatest longevity. -Ray Peat, PhD

Trends Neurosci. 2004 Oct;27(10):595-600.
Free radicals and aging.
Barja G.
Aging is characterized by decrements in maximum function and accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations, which are best observed in organs such as the brain that contain post-mitotic cells. Oxygen radicals are increasingly considered responsible for part of these aging changes. Comparative studies of animals with different aging rates have shown that the rate of mitochondrial oxygen radical generation is directly related to the steady-state level of oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA and is inversely correlated with maximum longevity in higher vertebrates. The degree of unsaturation of tissue fatty acids also correlates inversely with maximum longevity. These are the two known traits connecting oxidative stress with aging. Furthermore, caloric restriction, which decreases the rate of aging, proportionately decreases mitochondrial oxygen radical generation, especially at complex I. These findings are reviewed, highlighting the results obtained in the brain.

Exp Gerontol. 2007 Nov;42(11):1053-62.
Membrane phospholipid composition may contribute to exceptional longevity of the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber): a comparative study using shotgun lipidomics.
Mitchell TW, Buffenstein R, Hulbert AJ.
Phospholipids containing highly polyunsaturated fatty acids are particularly prone to peroxidation and membrane composition may therefore influence longevity. Phospholipid molecules, in particular those containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), from the skeletal muscle, heart, liver and liver mitochondria were identified and quantified using mass-spectrometry shotgun lipidomics in two similar-sized rodents that show an approximately 9-fold difference in maximum lifespan. The naked mole rat is the longest-living rodent known with a maximum lifespan of >28 years. Total phospholipid distribution is similar in tissues of both species; DHA is only found in phosphatidylcholines (PC), phosphatidylethanolamines (PE) and phosphatidylserines (PS), and DHA is relatively more concentrated in PE than PC. Naked mole-rats have fewer molecular species of both PC and PE than do mice. DHA-containing phospholipids represent 27-57% of all phospholipids in mice but only 2-6% in naked mole-rats. Furthermore, while mice have small amounts of di-polyunsaturated PC and PE, these are lacking in naked mole-rats. Vinyl ether-linked phospholipids (plasmalogens) are higher in naked mole-rat tissues than in mice. The lower level of DHA-containing phospholipids suggests a lower susceptibility to peroxidative damage in membranes of naked mole-rats compared to mice. Whereas the high level of plasmalogens might enhance membrane antioxidant protection in naked mole-rats compared to mice. Both characteristics possibly contribute to the exceptional longevity of naked mole-rats and may indicate a special role for peroxisomes in this extended longevity.

Exp Gerontol. 2005 Apr;40(4):335-43.
Unsaturated fatty acids intake and all-causes mortality: a 8.5-year follow-up of the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging.
Solfrizzi V, D’Introno A, Colacicco AM, Capurso C, Palasciano R, Capurso S, Torres F, Capurso A, Panza F.
Recent evidence suggested a protective role of dietary monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) intakes against several chronic diseases and, therefore, an increased human longevity. After a median follow-up of 8.5 years, we investigated the possible role of MUFA, PUFA, and other selected food groups in protecting against all-causes mortality in a population-based, prospective study, conducted in one of the eight centers of the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA), Casamassima, Bari, Italy. Out of 704 elderly subjects (65-84 years), 278 nondemented persons agreed to participate at the first survey (1992-1993). During the follow-up, there were 91 deaths. A semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire evaluating macronutrient daily intakes were performed at the first survey. Higher MUFA intake was associated with an increase of survival (hazard ratio 0.81, 95% CI 0.66-0.99), a higher unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) to SFA ratio (hazard ratio 1.20, 95% CI 0.99-1.45) increased total mortality only marginally, while no effect about other selected food groups were found. In conclusion, in this prospective study on older nondemented subjects with a typical Mediterranean diet, a higher MUFA intake increased survival, while a higher UFA/SFA ratio increased total mortality, but only marginally.

The famously long-lived people of Azerbaijan eat a diet containing a low ratio of unsaturated to saturated fats, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and dairy productions (Grigorov, et al., 1991). -Ray Peat, PhD

Vopr Pitan. 1991 Mar-Apr;(2):36-40.
[Characteristics of actual nutrition of the long-lived population of Azerbaijan].
[Article in Russian]
Grigorov IuG, Kozlovskaia SG, Semes’ko TM, Asadov ShA.
The assay of the actual nutrition of old people living in Azerbaijan has evidenced that it corresponds to the climatic and geographical features of the region and has a direct relation to the long-living. The actual nutrition of old subjects in the Azerbaijan SSR is characterized by low fat consumption (vegetable oils among them), by low value of the ratio between polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids, by high consumption of fruit and vegetables as well as fermented milk products, by an optimal water-salt regimen, high content of vitamins and antioxidants, geroprotectors and a comparatively low energy value of the food rations.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2006 Oct;61(10):1009-18.
Oxidation-resistant membrane phospholipids can explain longevity differences among the longest-living rodents and similarly-sized mice.
Hulbert AJ, Faulks SC, Buffenstein R.
Underlying causes of species differences in maximum life span (MLS) are unknown, although differential vulnerability of membrane phospholipids to peroxidation is implicated. Membrane composition and longevity correlate with body size; membranes of longer-living, larger mammals have less polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). We determined membrane phospholipid composition of naked mole-rats (MLS > 28.3 years) and similar-sized mice (MLS = 3-4 years) by gas-liquid chromatography to assess if the approximately 9x MLS difference could be explained. Mole-rat membrane composition was unchanged with age. Both species had similar amounts of membrane total unsaturated fatty acids; however, mice had 9 times more docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Because this n-3PUFA is most susceptible to lipid peroxidation, mole-rat membranes are substantially more resistant to oxidative stress than are mice membranes. Naked mole-rat peroxidation indices, calculated from muscle and liver mitochondrial membranes, concur with those predicted by MLS rather than by body size, suggesting that membrane phospholipid composition is an important determinant of longevity.

Exp Gerontol. 2008 Aug;43(8):729-33. Epub 2008 Jun 11.
The exceptional longevity of an egg-laying mammal, the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) is associated with peroxidation-resistant membrane composition.
Hulbert AJ, Beard LA, Grigg GC.
The echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus is a monotreme mammal from Australia that is exceptionally long-living. Its documented maximum lifespan of 50 years is 3.7 times that predicted from its body mass. Other exceptionally long-living mammals (naked mole-rats and humans) are known to have peroxidation-resistant membrane composition, raising the question about echidnas. Phospholipids were extracted from skeletal muscle, liver and liver mitochondria of echidnas and fatty acid composition measured. As with other exceptionally long-living mammals, membrane lipids of echidna tissues were found to have a lower content of polyunsaturates and a higher content of monounsaturates than predicted for their body size. The peroxidation index (=peroxidation susceptibility) calculated from this membrane composition was lower-than-expected for their body size, indicating that the cellular membranes of echidnas would be peroxidation-resistant. Additionally when the calculated peroxidation index was plotted against maximum lifespan, the echidna values conformed to the relationship for mammals in general. These findings support the membrane pacemaker theory of aging and emphasise the potential importance of membrane fatty acid composition in aging and in the determination of maximum longevity.

Free Radic Biol Med. 1995 Oct;19(4):499-504.
Mitochondrial superoxide and hydrogen peroxide generation, protein oxidative damage, and longevity in different species of flies.
Sohal RS, Sohal BH, Orr WC.
The objective of this study was to further elucidate the role of oxidative stress in the aging process by determining whether or not the rates of mitochondrial superoxide anion radical and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production, the activity of cytochrome c oxidase, and the concentration of protein carbonyls are correlated with the life span potential of different species. A comparison was made among five different species of dipteran flies, namely, Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), Musca domestica (house fly), Sarcophaga bullata (flesh fly), Calliphora vicina (blow fly) and Phaenecia sericata (a species of blow flies), which range more than 2-fold in their life span potentials. The average life span potential of these species was found to be inversely correlated with the rates of mitochondrial superoxide and H2O2 production and with the level of protein carbonyls, and to be directly related to the activity of cytochrome c oxidase. The significance of these findings in context of the validity of the oxidative stress hypothesis of aging is discussed. It is inferred that longer life span potential in these insect species is associated with relatively low levels of oxidant generation and oxidative molecular damage. These results accord with our previous findings on different mammalian species.

Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2010 Mar-Apr;32(2):171-81. Epub 2009 Oct 7.
Excess omega-3 fatty acid consumption by mothers during pregnancy and lactation caused shorter life span and abnormal ABRs in old adult offspring.
Church MW, Jen KL, Anumba JI, Jackson DA, Adams BR, Hotra JW.
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 FA) during pregnancy and lactation is beneficial to fetal and infant development and might reduce the incidence and severity of preterm births by prolonging pregnancy. Consequently, supplementing maternal diets with large amounts of omega-3 FA is gaining acceptance. However, both over- and under-supplementation with omega-3 FA can harm offspring development…In conclusion, omega-3 FA over-nutrition or imbalance during pregnancy and lactation had adverse effects on life span and sensory/neurological function in old adulthood. The adverse outcomes in the Excess offspring were likely due to a “nutritional toxicity” during fetal and/or neonatal development that programmed them for life-long health disorders. The health implication is that consuming or administering large amounts of omega-3 FA during pregnancy and lactation seems inadvisable because of adverse effects on the offspring.

Posted in General.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .