|At least in rodents omega-6s appear to make abetter match with exercise than in human beings.|
In view of the fact that the corresponding study in which Rogowski et al. observed a significant correlation between the omega-6 fatty acid content in the muscle and mitochondrial uncoupling and fat oxidation. The problem with the study is however that it was conducted not just with mice, but with genetically modified mice.
The results of the said study by Rogoswki, Patin et al. may thus form the basis for further investigations, but should not be taken as "hard evidence" that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids will have similar effects. The accumulation of linolic acid in the mouse muscles was after all a result of the genetic modification and not the consequence of high n-6 chow.
So what's the effect of dietary linolic acid, then?
Unlike Rogowski et al., Kerry J. Ayre and A.J. Hulbert from the University of Wollongong did not just use normal male Wistar rats as their test objects, they also did what the scientists from Texas Tech didn't do: They supplied their rodents with diets with different fatty acid profiles.
Irrespective of the fact that it sucks for rodent endurance, coconut oil could help you approach a flat tummy like the one above| learn more
- High N-6: Being based on sesame oil, the high N-6 diet had a SFA / MUFA / N-6 / N-3 ratio of 16:30:50:4 that translates to an N-3:N-6 Ratio of 0.08 (1:12.5); now that sounds crazily low, but the average Westerner consumes a diet with a N-3:N-6 ratio of 0.0625 (1:16; cf. Simpopoulos. 2004) in other words - that was not even "as bad" (?) as the Western diet
- High N-3: By adding both sesame and a commercially available omega-3 supplement to the diet, the scientists hit a 21:25:35:16 ratio for SFA / MUFA / N-6 / N-3 - that's still far from "N-3 exclusive" but much more like what current expert advice tells us we should strive for, i.e. 1g of omega-3 for every 2g of omega-6
|Figure 1: Fatty acid composition of the diets and corresponding endurance performance of male Wistar rats after 9-weeks on coconut, high n-6 and high n-3 diet (Ayre. 1997)|
"So where is the connection to the new study from Texas Tech, then?"
If we look back at the initially mentioned results from the Texas Tech study, it appears logical to assume that the beneficial effects on the endurance capacity could be another downstream effects of an increased ability to oxidize dietary fats (which is basically what the Rogowski, Paton et al. argued). Compared to the minimal amount of blood glucose and the highly limited glycogen stores in the muscle and liver, the fat stores of mice (and man) do after all hold an almost inexhaustible amount of energy - they just have to be accessed.
|Figure 2: Skeletal muscle fatty acid composition after 9 weeks (Ayre. 1997)|
|"Making the Right Fish Choices" is important for your healths, so I suggest you learn how in the same-titled SuppVersity article.|
In view of the profundity of the omega-6 overshoot in the SAD diet and considering the fact that many of us have been consuming diets containing 15x more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s for decades, this does not appear unlikely. From a scientific perspective it would yet reaffirm that the "optimal n3:n:6 ratio" for someone with a well-balanced cellular level of the latter could be very different from the 1:1 optimum some experts currently recommend as target in the battle against diabesity - right?
- Ayre KJ, Hulbert AJ. Dietary fatty acid profile affects endurance in rats. Lipids. 1997 Dec;32(12):1265-70.
- Pella D, Dubnov G, Singh RB, Sharma R, Berry EM, Manor O. Effects of an Indo-Mediterranean diet on the omega-6/omega-3 ratio in patients at high risk of coronary artery disease: the Indian paradox. World Rev Nutr Diet. 2003;92:74-80.
- Rogowski MP, Flowers MT, Stamatikos AD, Ntambi JM, Paton CM. SCD1 activity in muscle increases triglyceride PUFA content, exercise capacity, and PPARδ expression in mice. J Lipid Res. 2013 Oct;54(10):2636-46.
- Simopoulos, AP. Omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acid ratio and chronic diseases. Food Reviews International. 2004; 20(1).