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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dietary Fatty Acids and Immune Functions

Author
item Kelley, Darshan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Both the amount and type of dietary fatty acids have been reported to influence the activity of immune cells in humans and several other mammals. Results of human studies showed an increase in lymphocyte proliferation, cytokine production, and natural killer cell activity, when the percent of energy from fat was reduced. Increasing the intake of linoleic acid up to 10 % of energy for 40 d or that of arachidonic acid to 1.8 g/d for 50 d did not show any adverse effects on immune status of healthy young adults, when total fat intake was maintained constant. Such intake of n-6 PUFA may be inhibitory in subjects with a compromised immune response, or those consuming high-fat diets with inadequate antioxidant nutrient intake. N-3 PUFA from plant as well as marine sources have been reported to inhibit lymphocyte, macrophage and neutrophil functions in several human studies. Such inhibitory effects of n-3 PUFA have been of limited use in the management of autoimmune disorders, however such inhibition may increase the incidence of infections and tumor growth, particularly in subjects with a depressed immune status. The net effect of dietary fat on immune response is an outcome of the interaction and balance between several factors including total fat, type of fatty acids and the ratios between them, degree of unsaturation, chain length, duration of feeding, and the antioxidant nutrient status. All these factors need to be considered while selecting the amount and type of fat required for the optimal activity of the immune system.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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