Friday, 9 March 2012

Fat Consumption & Immunity - Dr. Nina Bailey

Video posted by Nutricentre, Jan 12, 2012.

Dr. Nina Bailey works for a food supplements company.

Summary notes:

Immunity is not just about fighting against invaders, but also about being able to effectively eradicate the body of dead cells and genetic abnormalities.

There are a variety of cells involved in immune function, but all cells in immune system derive from the same source. There are macrophages - the 'guards', plasma cells - produce antibodies, leucocytes, lymphocytes, B-cells (these cells are targeted by the 'new' M.E. drug rituximab), etc.

Cytokines are a family of proteins that mediate and regulate the immune response. Cytokines are divided into over 100 different kinds, e.g., leukines. Cytokines can act on their own cells, or on other cells.

Cell-mediated immunity vs. antibody mediated - the latter occurs within blood or fluid, as opposed to in the cells themselves.

Some people have an exaggerated auto-immune response. There is evidence that nutrition can play a role in helping regulate the inflammatory responses that occur as a result of an over-active immune response. But our food has changed so much over the last 100 years. This may be why there seem to be an increase of immune disorders. The type of FAT that we eat has changed, too, which is the main focus of this lecture.

Dietary fat = fatty acids

Saturated fat - derived from animal products; less healthy; more rigid molecules which make cell membranes more rigid (this leads us to ask us whether this could play a big role in the muscle soreness reported in many M.E. and fibro sufferers)


Unsaturated fat - largely derived from plants; have a double-bonded structure - these don't fit so well into our cell membranes, with the result that our cell membranes become less rigid and more fluid - this has the benefit of allowing molecules within a cell to move more freely, and thus undergo processes more easily

Polyunsaturated fats include:

omega 3 - subdivided into EPA and DHA (the lecture summary will go on to say that EPA is the better of the two) - found in flaxseed, fish, algae
omega 6 - subdivided into DGLA and AA (AA can be quite toxic) - found in corn oil, sunflower oil

We have to consume omega fats in our diet because we can't produce them naturally within our own body. Once we consume them, we have enzymes that can turn omegas into fatty acid chains.

Products derived from omega-derived chains:

Cocinoids - regulate immune function among other things

Prostglandins - regulate blood pressure

Leucotrines - involved in lung function

The omega 6 family is thought to be INFLAMMATORY, whereas the omega 3 family is largely ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. But the relationships are not so straightforward, as it can depend on quantities present, whether the food it is present in has been cooked, and and also that there are other conversion processes that happen within the molecules naturally.

The ratios of the sub-types, EHA, DHA, DGLA, AA etc are not all equal in value. In current diets, AA values are relatively high. AAs are the least desirable of the group. In the past, ancestors had an omega-3:omega-6 value of 2:1. Today, that value is typically more like 3:6.

Various conditions have been linked to omega-3 deficiencies. Skin disorders, such as psoriasis, is one condition mentioned.

Fish is rich in omega-3, but different fish have different values of omega-3. Mackeral and anchovies are considered high in omega-3, but 'white fish' has omega-3 concentrated in the liver. Innuit communities have been observed to consume an extremely high omega-3 diet, but the cases of heart disease, diabetes, and immune diseases are/were largely absent.

The average UK intake sees about half the recommended intake of omega-3. Food products might promote themselves as being fortified with omega-3, but chances are, this omega-3 source is not fish based. In addition to concerns about the levels of heavy metals in seafood, Dr. Nina promotes fish oil capsules as an effective solution to increasing omega-3 intake. (Note that her company markets a fish oil product.)

Triglyceride comprise of 3 fatty acids joined by a glyceride to stabilize it - added to a lot of fish oil capsule products.

Evening primrose is another good source of DPA omega-3. Spirulina and algae are also other good sources of DPA. But as EPA is more beneficial than DPA, it is hard to see what can beat fish as a nutrient source. Always try to go for omega-3 supplements that promote higher EPA content.

Dr. Nina suggests that coconut oil might be the best oil source for cooking, since many oils can produce free radicals upon heating. Next best, comes olive oil, although it's pointed out that this is very rich in omega-6.

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