T Nation

Elevated Linoleic Acid Levels

Hi everyone, I read an article by Bill Roberts on this site regarding elevated linoleic acid levels. Any thoughts on what may cause this. A fatty acids blood test revealed my level is 25% despite a low fat diet that is primarily fish as the animal source, grains, legumes and vegetables. Could it be a vit/min deficiency. About a year ago I was eating lots of nuts regularly but haven’t had any processed foods or veg oils for many years. Also my body fat levels are low as I am lean and have always battled to gain mass.

The human body can not MAKE linoleic acid. (It is essential though you only need 2-8 grams a day and after that it starts to raise health hazards). When the body synthesized fatty acids from carbs, they will be saturated or monounsaturated. This means that the linoleic acid in your blood is coming from diet directly or indirectly-it can be stored in cell membranes and adipose cells and then released over time.

Linoleic acid in adipose tissue of Americans has risen over the last century from less than 10% to over 20%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642429/

On the positive side, linoleic acid gets used up during illness and inflammation, so having low levels of linoleic acid can be a sign that you haven’t had a recent infection or chronic inflammation. Blood fatty acid levels don’t seem to be directly related to dietary or “stored” fatty acids (stored in adipose, muscle cells or cell membranes).

This table: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4326172/table/pone.0116195.t003/
suggests that 22%-32% is typical for LA listed as “18:2 c9c12 (LA)” Very low LA can be a sign of chronic infections or inflammation. Based on this, I don’t believe that 25% LA in the fatty acid profile of serum is indicative of a poor health status. Higher SERUM LA actually correlates to lower stroke rates and lower LA to infections as mentioned before.

Thanks for that detailed response. It’s interesting because I’ve read that elevated LA can cause blood to clot, etc, and interestingly I have had unprovoked dvt a few years ago. The red cell fatty acid test that I did showed LA 25%, oleic at 20% and palmitic 22%. These were the only elevated fats according to the report as all other fatty acids were within normal levels.

A stool sample also revealed overgrowth of bile tolerant bacteria which makes me think this could all be connected.

hmm. Even though humans can’t make LA, gut bacteria can (probably), but I’ll have to read up on that.

OP - note that recommended intakes are around 10g or less. You may have eaten beyond those amounts for a while and accumulated PUFAs