Genova Diagnostics

Linoleic (Genova)

Optimal Result: 821 - 2032 µmol/L.

Linoleic acid (LA) is the only essential omega-6 fatty acid and must be obtained from the diet. From Linoleic acid, other omega-6s can be created using elongase and desaturase enzymes.

Linoleic acid contains 18 carbons, with 2 double bonds, the first of which is at the 6th carbon position (18:2n6).

Linoleic acid is found in nuts and vegetable oils (corn, soybean, canola, sunflower, etc.) as well as most meats. When the double bonds of LA are arranged differently, the term conjugated LA (CLA) is used. Although technically CLA can be termed a trans-fat, a natural type of CLA can be obtained in the dietary intake of meat and milk from ruminant animals.

There are many isomers of CLA – some beneficial and others are not as well defined. There is some controversy regarding how much LA is needed from the diet for adequacy. Although LA is needed to synthesize downstream fatty acids, it may lead to increased inflammatory fatty acid production. Several studies show that LA lowers blood cholesterol levels and improves all-cause mortality However, their current role in atherosclerosis and cardiometabolic disease are being revisited.

There is difficulty in differentiating the biological effects of LA from arachidonic acid in health and disease. In fact, it has been shown that

Linoleic acid is the most abundant fatty acid found in LDL and is one of the first fatty acids to oxidize. Studies are showing that LA promotes oxidative stress, oxidized LDL, and may be a major dietary cause of cardiovascular disease, especially when consumed via industrial vegetable oils.

Linoleic acid is by far the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in most human tissues. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, and low levels indicate dietary insufficiency, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as:

– Eczema-like skin eruptions
– Loss of hair
– Liver degradation
– Behavorial disturbances
– Kidney degeneration
– Increased thirst
– Frequent infections
– Poor wound healing
– Sterility
– Miscarriage
– Arthralgia (aching or pain in the joints without swelling)
– Cardiovascular disease
– Growth retardation

Some of these symptoms result from lack of Linoleic acid in membranes, where it plays a role in structural integrity. Most, however, are from failure to produce eicosanoids, which are cell regulators. Linoleic acid is the starting point for this pathway. Normal neonatal status of this fatty acid is marginal, if not insufficient. Since dietary sources (especially corn oil) are abundant, however, Linoleic acid may be found above normal. Excessive Linoleic acid can contribute to inflammation.

Supplementation with LA has been shown to increase body weight and essential fatty acid status in patients with cystic fibrosis.

References:
– Steinkamp G, Demmelmair H, Ruhl-Bagheri I, von der Hardt H, and Koletzko B. Energy Supplements Rich in Linoleic Acid Improve Body Weight and Essential Fatty Acid Status of Cystic Fibrosis Patients, J of Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 31(4):418-423 (2000).
– https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492028/
– https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26240151
– https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28752873
– https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22889633

What does it mean if your Linoleic (Genova) result is too low?

Linoleic acid deficiency is rare, especially give current dietary trends which include excess vegetable oils. However, lack or decreased intake of foods containing LA can contribute to lower levels. Additionally, a SNP in delta-6-desaturase may potentially alter the enzyme function and promote downstream metabolism.

Essential linoleic acid deficiencies have been mainly associated with skin conditions and impaired growth and development. Low levels of LA may contribute to impaired wound healing since it has been found to modulate a cellular response in wound healing by increasing the migration and functions of inflammatory and endothelial cells, and by inducing angiogenesis at the wound site.

Low levels indicate dietary insufficiency.

Symptoms:

– Eczema-like skin eruptions
– Loss of hair
– Liver degradation
– Behavorial disturbances
– Kidney degeneration
– Increased thirst
– Frequent infections
– Poor wound healing
– Sterility
– Miscarriage
– Arthralgia (aching or pain in the joints without swelling)
– Cardiovascular disease
– Growth retardation

Potential response is to add corn, safflower or black current oil.

What does it mean if your Linoleic (Genova) result is too high?

Elevations are seen with high dietary fat intake (especially vegetable oils), or with supplementation of CLA. The delta-6-desaturase enzyme converts LA to downstream fatty acids. Lack of vitamin and mineral cofactors, or a SNP in the enzyme may slow its ability to covert and elevate LA levels. Additionally, there is competition with the omega-3 fatty acids for use of this enzyme which may contribute to elevated levels depending on availability. 

High levels of LA are associated with obesity, inflammatory conditions such as IBD, various cancers, cardiovascular disease, altered cognition, and brain development.

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