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Impact of Fatty Food on the Heart and What to Eat to Protect It?

Amelia Grant

November 26, 2019

Omega acids are known to be different. We usually lack omega-3 acids. But we consume omega-6 acids in excess: they are found in such common foods as chicken and turkey meat, margarine and mayonnaise, sunflower seeds and peanut butter. Ideally, the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 in the diet should be 4:1, but in practice, it is usually 20:1. And this is especially dangerous for an aging body.

Impact of Fatty Food on the Heart

Researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona decided to find out how a diet with a surplus of omega-6 affects the intestinal microbiome and the profile of spleen leukocytes. The spleen, a secondary immune organ, is a reservoir for leukocytes that are released after damage to the heart, for example, due to a heart attack. Spleen leukocytes rush to the heart to begin tissue repair and remove inflammation.

Scientists conducted experiments on mice and saw that a high-fat diet caused a sharp growth of bacteria belonging to the genus Allobaculum, type Firmicutes. Also, it was recorded that in all experimental mice occurred an increase in the level of neutrophils, structural deformations of the spleen and a decrease in the CD169-positive splenic macrophages.

It was found that a diet with an excess of omega-6 due to deformations occurring in the spleen, and changes in the microbiome worsens the processes of recovery of cardiac tissue. No less important was the influence of age. Thus, the organisms of young mice in the course of testing still managed to cope with the harmful effects of fatty foods. But the organisms of elderly mice could not overcome it. They had irreversible inflammation associated with the development of acute decompensated heart failure.

According to scientists, this study emphasizes that diet and age are critical factors affecting the health of the heart and the whole body. Scientists urge to decrease the number of fatty food as we get older, even if in the youth it didn’t bring much damage. Such a diet becomes truly dangerous over the years.

Fiber Is One of the Best Protectors of the Heart

Researchers from the Center for Molecular Medicine Max Delbrück conducted interesting experiments on rodents. Scientists gave propionate to one group of mice with high blood pressure, and, respectively, did not give propionate to the other group.

Studies using ultrasound, tissue sections, and other tests showed how propionic acid protected the heart from damage caused by hypertension. In particular, she warned of left ventricular hypertrophy, which is considered a more serious risk factor for heart attack than diabetes mellitus, increased blood cholesterol and smoking. Also, due to propionate, the damage to the blood vessels is reduced.

When mice with hypertension were artificially attempted to induce cardiac arrhythmia, all mice from the untreated group experienced irregular heartbeats. But among mice treated with propionate, arrhythmia could be induced only in 20% of rodents.

“Propionic acid acts on the heart indirectly through immune cells. It soothes T-helpers, which, when activated, increase inflammation and blood pressure. This mechanism has a direct impact on the functionality of the heart” - says Steven Reisman, the leading cardiologist in NYC.

So, whole-grain products, fruits, and vegetables do not lose their relevance. And scientists, meanwhile, are thinking about creating a drug with an enhanced dose of propionic acid. It is encouraging that propionate is proven safe for human consumption and can be produced without much cost.


Healthcare & Nutrition