Saturated Fats Are Essential For Health
Saturated Fatty Acids Essential For Life Processes
During the 1970’s researchers fed animals the unsaturated vegetable oils rapeseed and canola. The animals developed heart lesions. They were able to reverse these diseases by adding saturated fats to the animal’s diet.
Continuing research indicated that 25% of the fat intake needed to be saturated fat. They also found that lard had the best mix of saturated fats for animal and human diets.
Certain saturated fatty acids are needed for signaling from cell membrane receptors to various locations within the cell. This signaling has profound effects on the cell but also can result in effects important to the body as a whole.
Lauric acid, a 12 carbon saturated fatty acid, myristic acid, a 14 carbon saturated fatty acid, and palmitic acid, a 16 carbon saturated fatty acid, are used in this signaling process.
Lauric acid is found in small amounts in butterfat, and in large amounts in coconut oil.
Myristic acid is found in coconut oil and dairy fats. Palm oil is found in large amounts in Red Palm oil, and in animal and dairy fats.
Stearic acid is found in animal fats (tallow).
G-Protein Receptors and Saturated Fatty Acids
The cell membrane receptor proteins on which these fatty acids exert their effects are called G-protein receptors.
They are like automatic switches which are activated when signaling molecules, such as these fatty acids, react with their particular site on the G-protein receptors. The cascade of events is too complicated to describe here.
The switches are automatically reset when cellular conditions are met until the next signaling molecule comes along.
White blood cells (wbcs) from old age donors showed a decline in function. This age related decline in wbcs correlated with the loss of myristic and palmitic acids from the wbcs.
Proper function of the white blood cells was restored when myristic and palmitic acids were added to the deficient white blood cells.
Saturated Fatty Acids and Resistance to Cancer
With adequate myristic acid in the diet, the body has the ability to suppress production of tumors from lung tissue. Myristic acid must be attached to a gene called fus 1 for this protection to occur.
The loss of myristic acid in the diet will result in immune system dysfunction, including cancer.
This loss is quite likely because today's dietitians call for less saturated fat in our diets.
Myristic acid is found in coconut oil and in dairy fats which westerners are taught to avoid. We are taught that saturated fats cause high cholesterol levels and heart disease which has never been proven.
Saturated Fats and Antimicrobial Activity
Lauric acid may have important antimicrobial activity by itself. The monoglyceride called monolaurin has this activity as described below. Monolaurin kills pathogenic bacteria, preventing their deadly effects on bodily tissues.
Lauric acid can have a signaling effect, or stabilizing function, when attached to certain proteins in a manner similar to that of myristic and palmitic acids.
Apparently stearic acid, an 18 carbon saturated fatty acid, can function similarly to that of the other saturated fatty acids.
Research Ignored by Certain Industries
Research results, such as the above, are ignored by the by the food processing and pharmaceutical drug industries.
The food processing industry can’t do much with animal fats and proteins, but they can do a lot with vegetable oils.
Unfortunately most of what the pharmaceutical drug industry does makes the product less fit for human consumption and healthy nutrition.
In the URL http://www.thincs.org/Malcolm2006.htm#june11, the Scottish physician Malcolm Kendrick, in the second article in the series, showed that saturated fats actually protect against heart disease.
You may click on the URL at the end of this page. It will open in a new window making it easier to come back to this article.
Kendrick's data from the second article consisted of sixteen countries. Eight of these countries ate the most saturated fat, and eight of these countries ate the least amount of saturated fat, in this study.
All eight of the countries that ate the most saturated fat had less heart disease than all eight countries that ate the least amount of saturated fat.
As quoted from Kendrick "Every single country in the top eight of saturated fat consumption had a lower rate of heart disease than every single country in the bottom eight of saturated fat consumption."
We are still told, says Kendrick, that saturated fat causes heart disease.
Some of the data referred to above came from an article entitled The Importance of Saturated Fats for Biological Function, by Mary G Enig, Ph.D. This article first appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2004.
Lauric acid, from coconut, is necessary for good health says Dr. Mary Enig, a Ph.D. nutritionist/biochemist and one of the world’s leading authorities on fats and oils.
Following is a quote attributed to Dr. Enig
Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.
Malcolm Kendrick's article on saturated fat and heart disease is found here.
Animal fats are esserntial for health. Next, how arteriolsclerosis and atherosclerosis form.
The Home Page where Nutritional Diseases are defined.