Omega 7 Fatty Acids – As good as OO7

April 28, 2014

Omega 7 Fatty Acids – As good as OO7 

 Reference  Stefan, Diabetes Care 2012 

 If you knew that Harvard Medical School had applied for a patent on a here-to-fore unstudied omega fatty acid, would you be intrigued?    Palmitoleic acid is called an Omega-7 because it has a double bond after 7 carbon atoms.  It is only 16 carbons long and only one double bond.   What makes palmitoleic acid unique is that it looks like a fat, but acts like a hormone.  It fits in that unique nitch between fat cells and inflammation.  This is of huge interest because this is where metabolic syndrome wreaks its havoc.  Because it’s a fat that acts like a hormone, we call it a lipokine.  Its effects are felt throughout the space that’s essentially called “metabolic syndrome”.  

This is where we find ourselves when we get a bit pudgy and have a waistline greater than ideal, a blood pressure just above normal, high blood fats, slightly errant kidneys and a very high risk of developing heart disease and stroke.  In other words, most of us.  We have an unprecedented epidemic of obesity and vascular disease in America with metabolic syndrome being the mechanisms that we see being all screwed up. 

 The net effect of all of that is inflammation.  And inflammation drives all our modern diseases from heart disease to stroke, but includes cancer and Alzheimer’s (in the bonus round if you make it 80). What’s triggered the understanding of palmitoleic acid’s effectiveness is the understanding of an enzyme called stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1, or SCD1 for short.  

When you genetically engineer an animal to have no SCD1, the inflammation naturally present in their fat tissue goes away.  Same thing if you give animals palmitoleic acid.   Their inflammation goes away.  That’s in animals. What happens in humans?  Well, a small study shows that the administration of  palmitoleic acid to folks with higher levels of C-reactive protein resulted in a 73% decrease in their CRP when taking 210 mg of palmitoleic acid.  73% is a nice number.   

 In a randomized trial of humans, not published yet,  30 days of “007” resulted in a 43% reduction in CRP. What’s the nitty-gritty mechanism for this very powerful effect?  It may all be simple glucose management.   Palmitoliec acid has been shown to increase the glucose uptake of muscle cells, so that glucose is stored as harmless glycogen instead of circulating in blood, glycating tissues and stimulating the rise of insulin and CRP.  Another mechanism is that palmitoleic acid stimulates the pancreas beta cells to multiply. More beta cells, more insulin. The final kicker with palmitoleic acid is that it appears to suppress appetite in animal studies by elevating cholecystokinin, one of our appetite suppressing hormones. 

 Where can I get palmitoleic acid?  It comes naturally in macadamia nuts and palm nuts.  Unfortunately, it comes along with palmitic acid, which blocks it and counters its beneficial effects.  To be useful, you have to separate the two. 

 WWW. What Will Work for Me?  I’m very curious.  I’m going to purchase some and see if it makes a difference in my data.  This may be very significant.  I can’t wait to hear more research.  Unpublished reports can’t be the basis for action.  But then,  Agent 007 might just “Die Another Day”, or “Tomorrow Never Dies”.   Thanks James.

Pop Quiz

1.     Omega seven fats come from?                      Answer:  Extracted from palm nuts or macadamia nuts

2.     Palmitoleic acid and has how many double bonds?                    Answer:   One double bond like olive oil, but with the bond at position 7 instead of. 9 making it act as much as a hormone as well as a fat.

3.     Palmitoleic acid makes beta cells in the pancreas multiple?   T or F                 Answer:  True, In animals and petri dishes, but fascinating.

4.     Palmitoleic acid makes CRP drop as much as 70% in small studies?                        Answer:    Unpublished and therefore not reliable, but intruiging.

5.     Palmitoleic acid reduces appetite? T or F                 Answer:  True.  And that may help you to lose weight.

6.     Palmitoleic acid reduces glucose uptake by muscles?  T or F                      Answer:  F.  It INCREASES glucose uptake. That’s what makes its effect so powerful

Written by John E Whitcomb, MD at Brookfield Longevity, in Brookfield, Wisconsin