Camelina sativa oil and fatty fish have positive effects on lipid metabolism

Camelina sativa oil and fatty fish are rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, but their health benefits seem to differ. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that Camelina sativa oil reduces the formation of fatty acid derivatives that may be harmful to cardiovascular health. Camelina sativa oil also seems to protect against oxidative stress. Fatty fish, on the other hand, increases the circulatory concentration of fatty acid derivatives that alleviate inflammation.

The study, conducted in collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, examined the associations of fatty and low-fat fish, and Camelina sativa oil, with lipid metabolism and low-grade inflammation. The study lasted for 12 weeks and it involved 79 men and women between 43 and 72 years of age and with impaired fasting glucose. The study participants were divided into four groups.  One group replaced fats in their daily diet with Camelina sativa oil and reduced their intake of fish to one serving a week. Two of the groups ate fish four times a week: two servings of fatty fish, such as salmon or vendace, and two servings of low-fat fish, such as saithe or pike. The fourth group was a control group.

A high intake of omega-3 fatty acids from Camelina sativa oil and fatty fish reduced the circulatory proportions of arachidonic acid, which is a long-chain omega-6 fatty acid. Those using Camelina sativa oil also had lower concentrations of mediators derived from arachidonic acid, which may be harmful to cardiovascular health. Moreover, the intake of fatty fish increased the circulatory concentration of fatty acid derivatives that alleviate inflammation.

“Camelina sativa oil and fatty fish had a major effect on lipid metabolism. Our study shows that dietary fats can be used to target metabolic pathways that are linked to cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes,” Early Stage Researcher Topi Meuronen, the lead author of the article, from the University of Eastern Finland says.

In addition to its other beneficial effects, Camelina sativa oil was also observed to reduce the circulatory concentration of markers that are indicative of oxidative stress.  Low-fat fish, however, did not have an effect on the metabolic pathways studied.

In addition to measuring traditional fatty acid concentrations from blood, the researchers were also interested in changes that occur in fatty acid metabolites, which serve as mediators. An examination of fatty acid metabolism on this level makes it possible to study the effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid in more detail than before. These new results are promising and they support earlier findings on the health benefits of fatty fish. However, further research into fatty acid derived mediators, and especially into the effects of Camelina sativa oil's metabolites, is needed.

For further information, please contact:

Early Stage Researcher Topi Meuronen, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, topi.meuronen(at)uef.fi https://uefconnect.uef.fi/henkilo/topi.meuronen/

Research article: Topi Meuronen, Maria A. Lankinen, Alexander Fauland, Bun-ichi Shimizu, Vanessa D. de Mello, David E. Laaksonen, Craig E. Wheelock, Arja T. Erkkilä & Ursula S. Schwab. Intake of Camelina Sativa Oil and Fatty Fish Alter the Plasma Lipid Mediator Profile in Subjects with Impaired Glucose Metabolism – A Randomized Controlled Trial. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids 159 (2020) 102143. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plefa.2020.102143

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The University of Eastern Finland is the most multidisciplinary university in Finland. Our high standard of interdisciplinary research and education respond to global challenges and build a sustainable future. Our research is ranked among the best in the world in several fields. We offer education in nearly 100 major subjects and we train experts for tomorrow’s changing labour market needs. The university comprises four faculties: the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. Our campuses are located in Joensuu and Kuopio. The UEF is home to approximately 15 500 students and 2 700 members of staff.

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