Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the early origins of obesity

Beverly S. Muhlhausler, Gérard P. Ailhaud

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The incidence of obesity and its related metabolic disorders has increased significantly over the past 3 decades, culminating in the current global epidemic of metabolic disease and leading to the search for contributing factors. Exposure of the developing foetus/neonate to a typical Western diet increases their risk of obesity and metabolic disorders throughout the life-course, creating an intergenerational cycle of metabolic disease. In Western countries, this epidemic of metabolic disease has coincided with a marked increase in the intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-6 PUFA), leading to suggestions that the two may be causally related. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies have emphasized the proadipogenic properties of the omega-6 PUFA, and provided evidence that rodents fed on diets with omega-6 PUFA contents similar to the typical US diet (6-8% energy) have an increased fat mass. Importantly, recent studies have shown that perinatal exposure to a high omega-6 PUFA diet results in a progressive accumulation of body fat across generations. SUMMARY: This review highlights the recent evidence supporting the role of the omega-6 PUFA in the early life origins of obesity and metabolic disease, the need for more clinical studies and the potential need for health agencies to re-evaluate current recommendations to further increase omega-6 PUFA intakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Feb 2013

Keywords

  • adipose tissue
  • biological programming
  • maternal nutrition
  • obesity
  • omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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