Document Detail

The Eskimo diet. Prophylactic effects ascribed to the balanced presence of natural cis unsaturated fatty acids and to the absence of unnatural trans and cis isomers of unsaturated fatty acids.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3642208     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In addition to the well recognised roles of eicosapentaenoic acid and possibly docosahexaenoic acid, there are two other major important, but unrecognised, features of the traditional Eskimo staple diet namely that it contains the unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) cis oleic, cis linoleic and cis alpha-linolenic as well as their respective C20 and C22 metabolites in physiologically optimal concentrations and, it is virtually totally devoid of unnatural and potentially hazardous trans and cis isomers of these fatty acids. Large quantities of unnatural trans and cis isomers of UFA are found in the Western diet as partially hydrogenated UFA in many foods. These isomers are formed during the manufacture of margarines and related compounds, as food contaminants during excessive heating of cooking oils for deep-frying and other excessive heat-requiring mass food preparation procedures and it is suggested, as the result of excessive feeding with an unnatural diet of ruminants and non-ruminants for increased meat and/or milk production and of poultry for increased egg and/or meat production. These isomers have been shown to display potentially hazardous metabolic effects which include the competitive inhibition of UFA metabolism at various steps and have been causally implicated in the etiology of ischemic heart disease and cancer. It is suggested that the myth of the safety of trans fatty acids arises from misinterpretation of the observation that increasing dietary cis linoleic acid reduces the toxic effects of trans UFA. It is suggested that the decrease of 20% in the ischemic heart disease mortality in the USA during the past two decades is directly related to a shift in the dietary ratio of unnatural trans and cis UFA isomers: cis linoleic acid in favour of the latter. It is predicted that this ratio will be found to correlate with ischemic heart disease patterns in other countries. Eskimos consume the bulk of their food frozen, raw or dried, seldom boiled, but never deep-fried or after exposure to excessive heat. Moreover the proportionality of cis UFA and their metabolites in their traditional staple diet would render gross tissue UFA utilization relatively independent of desaturase enzyme activity. In the Eskimo tissues these enzymes would function to make the minute, critical UFA metabolic adjustments required to ensure the presence of structural UFA in membranes in functionally optimal quantities and, ensure the synthesis of eicosanoids from dihomogamma-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in balanced, optimal physiological concentrations for the genetic make-up of Eskimos.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
J Booyens; C C Louwrens; I E Katzeff
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Medical hypotheses     Volume:  21     ISSN:  0306-9877     ISO Abbreviation:  Med. Hypotheses     Publication Date:  1986 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1987-02-19     Completed Date:  1987-02-19     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505668     Medline TA:  Med Hypotheses     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  387-408     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Dietary Fats*
Eicosanoic Acids / metabolism
Epidemiologic Methods
Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
Food Habits*
Milk, Human / analysis
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Dietary Fats; 0/Eicosanoic Acids; 0/Fatty Acids, Unsaturated

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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