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Fatty Western Diet Associated With Chronic Pain: Study

Typical western diets high, in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are a significant risk factor for both inflammatory and neuropathic pain

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Bikki Sharma
Bikki Sharma
A content writer trying to explore the world of Journalism where freedom of expression is valued and cherished.

Painful chronic disorders are a common occurrence in diabetic and obese people induced by fatty western diet, a study concluded.

Undoubtedly, there are health benefits that fat provides but excess omega-6 fatty acids can influence neuropathic pain. A typical western diet with a high concentration of fat can increase the risk of painful disorders common in people with conditions such as diabetes or obesity.

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Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio studied the effects of omega-6 fatty acids by measuring the role of these dietary lipids in pain conditions which revealed that the substances themselves seem to cause pain and inflammation.

Fatty Acids And Pain

The major cause of disability around the world is caused by chronic pain. However, fat reduction is often advised to keep a check on diabetes, auto-immune disorders and cardiovascular diseases. The role of dietary lipids, or fatty acids till now, in painful conditions, has been relatively unknown.

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In a recent paper, Dr. Boyd and his colleagues used multiple methods in both mice and humans to understand the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in pain conditions. As per the results, typical western diets high, in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are a significant risk factor for both inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

Omega-6 fats that are found in foods with vegetable oils have their benefits. But Western diet linked with obesity is characterized by higher levels of those acids in foods from onion rings to corn chips, than its healthy counterpart — omega-3 fats, which is found in fish and sources like flaxseed and walnuts.

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Commonly, an unhealthy diet consisting of high omega-6 fats includes processed snacks, fast foods, cakes, and fatty and cured meats, among others.

Lowering omega-6 and increasing omega-3 lipids, greatly reduced these pain conditions, the research concluded. Moreover, the authors demonstrated that patients with Type 2 diabetic neuropathic pain, with skin levels of omega-6 lipids, were strongly associated with reported pains and the need for taking analgesic drugs.

In an editorial accompanying the paper, Duke University researchers Aidan McGinnis and Ru-Rong Ji wrote, “This comprehensive and elegant study from Boyd et al. may serve as a foundation for new clinical trials and ultimately provide new avenues for the clinical treatment of neuropathies.”


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