In a new study, researchers found an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid has the potential to help fight heart disease.
This omega-6 fatty acid is dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA). It can help halt the progression of atherosclerosis, the build of plaque in arteries. This is one of the leading causes of heart disease.
The research was conducted by a team from Cardiff University and other institutes.
Heart disease causes one in three deaths worldwide and in the UK is responsible for almost 170,000 deaths each year.
Atherosclerosis is narrowing of the arteries due to inflammation and excessive fat.
Current atherosclerosis therapies can have harmful side effects. So researchers are trying to find how active food ingredients could help prevent and treat the disease.
Previous research has shown omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can help reduce the condition in arteries.
But the roles of omega-6 fatty acids in the disease remain poorly understood.
In the study, the team found the omega-6 fatty acid DGLA can have a positive effect on atherosclerosis at several stages.
It can control key processes linked to inflammation and the ability of the cells to take up and process cholesterol.
They also found protective effects of DGLA on endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. They are two important cell types involved in the disease.
The team hopes the new finding can develop new method to prevent and treat atherosclerosis.
The lead author of the study is Professor Dipak Ramji from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences.
The study is published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta -Molecular Basis of Disease.
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