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.
(Received May 22 2009)
(Revised April 22 2010)
(Accepted April 23 2010)
(Online publication June 04 2010)
Abbreviations: AA, arachidonic acid; HDL-C, HDL-cholesterol; LA, linoleic acid; LDL-C, LDL-cholesterol