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Br J Nutr. 2010 Sep;104(6):788-96. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510002096. Epub 2010 Jun 4.

n-6 Fatty acids and cardiovascular health: a review of the evidence for dietary intake recommendations.

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  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology Research Unit, UMR INSERM U557, INRA U1125, CNAM, UP13, CRNH-IdF, Faculté SMBH, 74 rue Marcel Cachin, 93017 Bobigny, France.


n-6 PUFA are well known for their critical role in many physiological functions and seem to reduce risks of CHD. However, some argue that excessive consumption of n-6 PUFA may lead to adverse effects on health and therefore recommend reducing dietary n-6 PUFA intake or fixing an upper limit. In this context, the present work aimed to review evidence on the link between n-6 PUFA and risks of CVD. Epidemiological studies show that n-6 PUFA dietary intake significantly lowers blood LDL-cholesterol levels. In addition, n-6 PUFA intake does not increase several CVD risk factors such as blood pressure, inflammatory markers, haemostatic parameters and obesity. Data from prospective cohort and interventional studies converge towards a specific protective role of dietary n-6 PUFA intake, in particular linoleic acid, against CVD. n-6 PUFA benefits are even increased when SFA intake is also reduced. In regards to studies examined in this narrative review, recommendation for n-6 PUFA intake above 5 %, and ideally about 10 %, of total energy appears justified.

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