Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why Some Vegetarians Have Higher Risk of Heart Attack

A catchy title as it seems,
but it's true.

The reason somehow lies in
the genes shaped by tradition and
the imbalance nutrients intake in modern days;
not the fault of a vegetarian meal.

Latest research* reveals that some
70% South Asians/Indians,
53% Africans,
29% East Asians and
17% Europeans
have evolved to bear an "improved" version of gene FADS2 that has increased efficiency in synthesizing long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) which is a group of important metabolites in our body.

The high percentages among
South Asians and Africans,
are possibly due to
selective pressure induced by LCPUFA-deficient diet (eg vegetarian diet),
consistently across many generations,
from evolutionary biology perspective.

In other words,
according to scientists,
the improved FADS2 is to compensate the inaccessibility of food source LCPUFA among population which traditionally adopt vegetarian diet.

In modern living,
where omega 6 (a precursor of LCPUFA) is seriously overdosed as ubiquitously found in all cooking oils,
FADS2 produces huge amount of Long Chain Omega 6,
which is pro-inflammatory,
posing high risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and other chronic illness.

For any individual with the "improved" FADS2 (more likely among Indians and Africans, be them vegetarian or not),
the risk is even higher.

In view of that, one, especially individual from traditionally vegetarian populations, should pay attention to:

i. reducing intake of cooking oil (which is generally high in Omega 6)

ii. increasing intake of omega3 rich food e.g. flaxseeds, chiaseeds (which lower the production of LCO6)

iii. increasing intake of antioxidants, e.g. veggies and fruits, to prevent onset of inflammation. (LCO6 promotes inflammation only after free radicals induce the onset of inflammation.)

iv. reducing unnecessary intake of fried/grilled foods, heavily processed foods that bring about free radicals.

In case the above write up is too technical,
here are a few important take home messages:

. depending on one's ethnicity, one may bear improved FADS2 gene, rendering higher susceptibility to inflammatory diseases, caused by haywired dietary fat intake pattern, commonly seen in modern civilization.

. non-carrier of the improved FADS2, is still subject to inflammatory diseases, if imbalanced fat intake is not rectified.

.going on a vegetarian meal does not put one on the risk of inflammatory diseases, if omega6 is not overdosed.

*Original scientific publication:

Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}
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