Inuit’s high-fat, omega-3 seafood diet healthy because of gene mutations
According to a new study, high-fat omega-3 Inuit diet of the Arctic that consists of seafood like seals or whales activated gene mutations that led to low rates of diabetes and heart disease. The study has been published in the journal Science on September 17.
The study has been carried out by the University of California, Berkley. It looked at genetic differences between Europeans, ethnic Chinese and Inuit.
Earlier it was thought that omega-3 fatty acids found in the Arctic animals' meat and blubber protected their consumers. But it seems that new research conducted on Inuit in Greenland contradicts that theory.
Findings of the study suggest that people's genes in the Arctic evolved a particular way as a result of which, they eat more fat than other ethnic groups. Researchers have found a critical group of genes which control how much omega-3 and omega-6 is naturally produced in a person's body.
Biologist Rasmus Nielsen led the research. According to NPR, he said that nearly all of the Inuit in the study were having gene variations that could decelerate production of omega fatty acids in the body.
It also seems that the genes assist in lowering "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is associated with heart disease. It also led to decreased blood sugar levels that lower the risk of diabetes.
Additionally, the gene mutations led to lower height in the Inuit by roughly an inch. According to Phys.org, fatty acids having an effect on growth hormones could be the reason behind this. Only 15% of Chinese and 3% of Europeans were having those gene biomarkers.
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