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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Fatty Acids and Immune Functions

Author
item KELLEY, DARSHAN

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 12, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: This article is based upon a talk delivered by the author at a workshop, regarding the nutritional regulation of human immune response (IR), organized by the American Institute of Medicine for the Department of Defense. This author reviewed the effects of fatty acids on human immune response. Interaction between several factors, including total fat, its composition and the ratios between various classes of fatty acids, duration of feeding, antioxidant nutrient status, age and health status of the subjects, determines the effect of dietary fat on IR. When other factors are maintained constant, reduction in total fat intake enhances several indices of human IR. If total fat intake is not changed, moderate increase in the consumption of n-6 PUFA (LA or AA) does not have any adverse effect on several indices of IR tested. A number of studies indicate inhibition of several indices of human IR, with an increased consumption of n-3 PUFA (ALA, EPA and DHA).There has been a limited success in the management of some autoimmune disorders by supplementing the diets of such patients with n-3 PUFA. However, such practice is not recommended without clinical supervision, because of the risk of overall inhibition of IR. Current recommendations by the American Heart Association to reduce total fat intake to 30 en%, with 10 en% from each of the saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids to improve cardiovascular health will also improve IR in most individuals. There are currently no recommendation in the USA regarding the intake of n-3 PUFA, however, for the immune system daily intakes of 200-400 mg of EPA+ DHA or up to 5 g of ALA can be considered safe.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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