British Journal of Nutrition

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British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 104:788-796 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2010

Review Article

n-6 Fatty acids and cardiovascular health: a review of the evidence for dietary intake recommendations

Sébastien Czernichowa1a2 c1, Daniel Thomasa3 and Eric Bruckerta4

a1 Nutritional Epidemiology Research Unit, UMR INSERM U557, INRA U1125, CNAM, UP13, CRNH-IdF, Faculté SMBH, 74 rue Marcel Cachin, 93017 Bobigny, France
a2 Public Health Department, Hôpital Avicenne (AP-HP) and University Paris 13, Bobigny, France
a3 Department of Medical Cardiology, Institute of Cardiology, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, 47 Bd de l'Hôpital, 75651 Paris Cedex 13, France
a4 Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, 47, Bd de l'Hôpital, 75013 Paris Cedex 13, France
Article author query
czernichow s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
thomas d [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
bruckert e [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


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)

Key Words:n-6 PUFA; CVD; Diet


c1 Corresponding author: Associate Professor S. Czernichow, email


Abbreviations: AA, arachidonic acid; HDL-C, HDL-cholesterol; LA, linoleic acid; LDL-C, LDL-cholesterol