High intakes of omega 6 linoleic acid could double the risk of ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease) according to a study at European level, while high consumption of omega 3 is associated with a reduction of 77% .
The study analyzed data from more than 200,000 people between 30 and 74 years of age in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy, who provided data regarding their daily diet. In the 4 years of the study, 126 cases of ulcerative colitis were documented, showing that the participants in the group with the highest consumption of linolenic acid had a 149% higher risk of suffering from it. Conversely, high consumption of omega 3 DHA was associated with a 77% reduction in the risk of ulcerative colitis.
Omega 6 fatty acids are present in the cell membranes of colon cells in the form of arachidonic acid, which can be metabolized to proinflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins E2, leukotrienes B4 and thromboxanes A2. On the other hand, omega 3, and particularly DHA, would have anti-inflammatory effects that would prevent colonic inflammation.
Thus, a higher consumption of omega 3 (in particular DHA) compared to omega 6 could be interesting in the prevention and reduction of colitis associated symptoms ulcerative.
Reference: Linoleic Acid, a Dietary N-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid, and the Aetiology of Ulcerative Colitis – A European Prospective Cohort Study. A.R. Hart .Gut.