Fats, functions & malfunctions
Vitamin E Needs Increases with PUFA Consumption and Greater Unsaturation
Dietary PUFA Reflected in Human Subcutaneous Fat Tissue
Israeli Paradox: High Omega -6 Diet Promotes Disease
Thigh and Buttock Fat Depots more Unsaturated than Abdominal Fat Depots
PUFA Accumulation & Aging
PUFA Promote Stress Response; Saturated Fats Suppress Stress Response
Ray Peat, PhD on Low Blood Sugar & Stress Reaction
Low Blood Sugar Basics
Unsaturated Fats and Longevity
Arachidonic Acid’s Role in Stress and Shock
Protective “Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency”
Anti-Inflammatory Omega -9 Mead Acid (Eicosatrienoic acid)
“Curing” a High Metabolic Rate with Unsaturated Fats
Fat Deficient Animals – Activity of Cytochrome Oxidase
Ray Peat, PhD Quotes on Therapeutic Effects of Niacinamide
Benefits of Aspirin
Saturated and Monousaturated Fatty Acids Selectively Retained by Fat Cells
PUFA Promote Cancer
Your MUFA + PUFA Intakes Determine Your True Vitamin E Requirements – N-3s are the Worst Offenders + Even MUFAs Need Buffering | Tool to Calculate Your Individual Needs
The Dangers of Fat Metabolism and PUFA: Why You Don’t Want to be a Fat Burner
Quotes by Ray Peat, PhD
“The half-life of fats in human adipose tissue is about 600 days, meaning that significant amounts of previously consumed oils will still be present up to four years after they have been removed from the diet.”
“Heavy drinking inhibits cellular respiration and sets up an inflammatory process, involving iron, which will still be harmful, but less so than in the presence of PUFA. If absolutely none of the dietary PUFA were in the body, no one really knows what that metabolic stress would do, maybe nothing cumulative.”
“When the polyunsaturated fats in the diet are reduced, the amount of them stored in the tissues decreases for about four years, making it progressively easier to keep the metabolic rate up, and stress hormones down.”
“The use of adequate protein and saturated fats during pregnancy will prevent many of the problems of pregnancy and infancy, but since the unsaturated fats remain stored in the tissues for many years, and are mobilized during stress, it’s important to eat correctly long before pregnancy. The requirement for vitamin E remains high for years after the diet has contained an excess of the polyunsatured fats. The diet which protects the developing fetus happens to be the diet that protects adults from all sorts of stress, and prevents many of the worst symptoms of aging.”
“The quantity of PUFA in the tissues strongly determines the susceptibility of the tissue to injury by radiation and other stresses. But a diet rich in PUFA will produce brain damage even without exceptional stressors, when there aren’t enough antioxidants, such as vitamin E and selenium, in the diet.”
“The larger the quantity of “toxic fat” stored in the body, the more careful the person must be about increasing metabolic and physical activity. Using more vitamin E, short-chain saturated fats, and other anti-lipid-peroxidation agents is important.”
“Although thyroid, progesterone, and a high quality protein diet will generally correct the epilepsy problem, it is important to mention that the involvement of unsaturated fats and free radicals in seizure physiology implies that we should minimize our consumption of the unsaturated fats. Even years after eliminating them from the diet, their release from tissue storage can prolong the problem, and during that time the use of vitamin E is likely to reduce the intensity and frequency of seizures.”
“But when tissues contain large amounts of polyunsaturated fats, every episode of fatigue and prolonged excitation leaves a residue of oxidative damage, and the adaptive mechanisms become progressively less effective.”
“It’s the stored PUFA, released by stress or hunger, that slow metabolism. Niacinamide helps to lower free fatty acids, and good nutrition will allow the liver to slowly detoxify the PUFA, if it isn’t being flooded with large amounts of them. A small amount of coconut oil with each meal will increase the ability to oxidize fat, by momentarily stopping the antithyroid effect of the PUFA. Aspirin is another thing that reduces the stress-related increase of free fatty acids, stimulating metabolism. Taking a thyroid supplement is reasonable until the ratio of saturated fats to PUFA is about 2 to 1.”
“The saturated fats protect against the body’s stored PUFA, and keeping the blood sugar up keeps the stored fats from being mobilized.”
“It was the body’s load of polyunsaturated fats which made it very susceptible to inflammation, stress, trauma, infection, radiation, hormone imbalance, and other fundamental problems, and drugs like aspirin and cortisone, which limit the activation of the stored “essential fatty acids,” gain their remarkable range of beneficial effects partly by the restraint they impose on those stored toxins.”
“Since stored fats are usually mostly polyunsaturated, the thyroid gland will keep being suppressed as long as weight is being lost, since the PUFA are being released into the blood stream. If a person has enough cholesterol, thyroid, and vitamin A, and keeps estrogen low, progesterone supplements shouldn’t be needed, but since adipose tissue is a source of estrogen synthesis when there’s inflammation, stress, or low thyroid, the need for progesterone is likely to recur. Aspirin helps to inhibit estrogen synthesis.”
“People with a significant amount of fat in their body, who have in the past eaten foods containing vegetable oils, are likely to draw unsaturated fats out of storage, with toxic effects unless vitamin E, thyroid, and coconut oil are used protectively until tissue stores of unsaturated fats are depleted. Typically, body stores of fat take four years to completely reflect the change to a different type of dietary fat.”
“Eliminating polyunsaturated fats from the diet is essential if the bystander effect is eventually to be restrained. Aspirin and salicylic acid can block many of the carcinogenic effects of the PUFA. Saturated fats have a variety of antiinflammatory and anticancer actions. Some of those effects are direct, others are the result of blocking the toxic effects of the PUFA. Keeping the stored unsaturated fats from circulating in the blood is helpful, since it takes years to eliminate them from the tissues after the diet has changed. Niacinamide inhibits lipolysis. Avoiding overproduction of lipolytic adrenaline requires adequate thyroid hormone, and the adjustment of the diet to minimize fluctuations of blood sugar.”
“In a young person, good food, sunlight, and a high altitude can often overcome severe and progressive inflammatory conditions. In an older person, whose tissues contain larger amounts of polyunsaturated fats and their breakdown products, it takes more environmental support to get out of the inflammatory pattern.”
“Sugars, if they are consumed in quantities beyond the ability to metabolize them (and that easily happens in the presence of PUFA) are converted into saturated fatty acids, which have antistress, antiinflammatory effects. Many propaganda experiments are set up, feeding a grossly excessive amount of polyunsaturated fat, causing sugar to form fat, specifically so they can publish their silly diet recommendations, which supposedly explain the obesity epidemic, but the government figures I cited show that vegetable fat consumption has increased, sugar hasn’t. My articles have a lot of information on the mechanisms, such as the so-called ‘Randle cycle,’ in which fatty acids shut down the ability to oxidize sugar. Polyunsaturated fats do many things that increase blood sugar inappropriately, and my articles review several of the major mechanisms. Several years ago, medical people started talking about the harmful effects of insulin, such as stimulating fat production, so ‘insulin resistance’ which keeps a high level of insulin from producing obesity would seem to be a good thing, but the medical obesity culture really isn’t thinking very straight. One factor in the ‘insulin resistance’ created by PUFA involves estrogen—chronic accumulation of PUFA in the tissues increases the production of estrogen, and the polyunsaturated free fatty acids intensify the actions of estrogen, which acts in several ways to interfere with glucose oxidation.”
“Our innate immune system is perfectly competent for handling our normal stress induced exposures to bacterial endotoxin, but as we accumulate the unstable fats, each exposure to endotoxin creates additional inflammatory stress by liberating stored fats. The brain has a very high concentration of complex fats, and is highly susceptible to the effects of lipid peroxidative stress, which become progressively worse as the unstable fats accumulate during aging.”
“The polyunsaturated fatty acids differ from the saturated fats in many ways, besides their shape and their melting temperature, and each type of fatty acid is unique in its combination of properties. The polyunsaturated fatty acids, made by plants (in the case of fish oils, they are made by algae), are less stable than the saturated fats, and the omega-3 and omega-6 fats derived from them, are very susceptible to breaking down into toxins, especially in warm-blooded animals. Other differences between saturated and polyunsaturated fats are in their effects on surfaces (as surfactant), charges (dielectric effects), acidity, and their solubility in water relative to their solubility in oil. The polyunsaturated fatty acids are many times more water soluble than saturated fatty acids of the same length. This property probably explains why only palmitic acid functions as a surfactant in the lungs, allowing the air sacs to stay open, while unsaturated fats cause lung edema and respiratory failure.
The great difference in water/oil solubility affects the strength of binding between a fatty acid and the lipophilic, oil-like, parts of proteins. When a protein has a region with a high affinity for lipids that contain double bonds, polyunsaturated fatty acids will displace saturated fats, and they can sometimes displace hormones containing multiple double bonds, such as thyroxine and estrogen, from the proteins that have a high specificity for those hormones. Transthyretin (also called prealbumin) is important as a carrier of the thyroid hormone and vitamin A. The unsaturation of vitamin A and of thyroxin allow them to bind firmly with transthyretin and certain other proteins, but the unsaturated fatty acids are able to displace them, with an efficiency that increases with the number of double bonds, from linoleic (with two double bonds) through DHA (with six double bonds)…
Cells are lipophilic, and absorb molecules in proportion to their fattiness; this long ago led people to theorize that cells are coated with a fat membrane…
Since most people believe that cells are enclosed within a barrier membrane, a new industry has appeared to sell special products to “target” or “deliver” proteins into cells across the barrier. Combining anything with fat makes it more likely to enter cells. Stress (which increases free fatty acids and lowers cell energy) makes cells more permeable, admitting a broader range of substances, including those that are less lipophilic.
Linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, which are said to “make the lipid membrane more permeable,” in fact make the whole cell more permeable, by binding to the structural proteins throughout the cell, increasing their affinity for water, causing generalized swelling, as well as mitochondrial swelling (leading to reduced oxidative function or disintegration), allowing more calcium to enter the cell, activating excitatory processes, stimulating a redox shift away from oxidation and toward inflammation, leading to either (inappropriate) growth or death of the cell.
When we don’t eat for many hours, our glycogen stores decrease, and adrenaline secretion is increased, liberating more glucose as long as glycogen is available, but also liberating fatty acids from the fatty tissues. When the diet has chronically contained more polyunsaturated fats than can be oxidized immediately or detoxified by the liver, the fat stores will contain a disproportionate amount of them, since fat cells preferentially oxidize saturated fats for their own energy, and the greater water solubility of the PUFA causes them to be preferentially released into the bloodstream during stress.
Saturated fatty acids terminate the stress reactions, polyunsaturated fatty acids amplify them.
In good health, especially in children, the stress hormones are produced only in the amount needed, because of negative feedback from the free saturated fatty acids, which inhibit the production of adrenalin and adrenal steroids, and eating protein and carbohydrate will quickly end the stress. But when the fat stores contain mainly PUFA, the free fatty acids in the serum will be mostly linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, and smaller amounts of other unsaturated fatty acids. These PUFA stimulate the stress hormones, ACTH, cortisol, adrenaline, glucagon, and prolactin, which increase lipolysis, producing more fatty acids in a vicious circle. In the relative absence of PUFA, the stress reaction is self limiting, but under the influence of PUFA, the stress response becomes self-amplifying.
When stress is very intense, as in trauma or sepsis, the reaction of liberating fatty acids can become dangerously counter-productive, producing the state of shock. In shock, the liberation of free fatty acids interferes with the use of glucose for energy and causes cells to take up water and calcium (depleting blood volume and reducing circulation) and to leak ATP, enzymes, and other cell contents (Boudreault and Grygorczyk, 2008; Wolfe, et al., 1983; Selzner, et al, 2004; van der Wijk, 2003), in something like a systemic inflammatory state (Fabiano, et al., 2008) often leading to death.
The remarkable resistance of “essential fatty acid deficient” animals to shock (Cook, et al., 1981; Li et al., 1990; Autore, et al., 1994) shows that the polyunsaturated fats are centrally involved in the maladaptive reactions of shock. The cellular changes that occur in shock–calcium retention, leakiness, reduced energy production–are seen in aging and the degenerative diseases; the stress hormones and free fatty acids tend to be chronically higher in old age, and an outstanding feature of old age is the reduced ability to tolerate stress and to recover from injuries…
Since healthy cells are very lipophilic, saturated fatty acids would have a greater tendency to enter them than the more water soluble polyunsaturated fats, especially those with 4, 5, or 6 double bonds, but as cells become chronically stressed they more easily admit the unsaturated fats, which slow oxidative metabolism and create free radical damage. The free radicals are an effect of stress and aging, as well as a factor in its progression.”
Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 Jan;33(1):81-5.
A mathematical relationship between the fatty acid composition of the diet and that of the adipose tissue in man.
Beynen AC, Hermus RJ, Hautvast JG.
Based on literature data, the hypothesis is advanced that in human subjects a direct mathematical relationship exists between the average fatty acid composition of the habitual diet and that of the lipid stores of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Since the half-life of adipose tissue fatty acids in man is in the order of 600 days, the fatty acid pattern of depot fat provides a qualitative measure of the fat intake over a period of 2 to 3 years. It is concluded that in long-term experimental and epidemiological nutritional surveys the adipose tissue fatty acid pattern of the subjects is a useful index of the average composition of their habitual dietary fat.
Adv Nutr November 2015 Adv Nutr vol. 6: 660-664, 2015
Increase in Adipose Tissue Linoleic Acid of US Adults in the Last Half Century
Stephan J Guyenet and Susan E Carlson
Linoleic acid (LA) is a bioactive fatty acid with diverse effects on human physiology and pathophysiology. LA is a major dietary fatty acid, and also one of the most abundant fatty acids in adipose tissue, where its concentration reflects dietary intake. Over the last half century in the United States, dietary LA intake has greatly increased as dietary fat sources have shifted toward polyunsaturated seed oils such as soybean oil. We have conducted a systematic literature review of studies reporting the concentration of LA in subcutaneous adipose tissue of US cohorts. Our results indicate that adipose tissue LA has increased by 136% over the last half century and that this increase is highly correlated with an increase in dietary LA intake over the same period of time.