Does omega 6 actually cause inflammation or merely facilitate it?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 27, 2013 at 7:31 PM

As the title states, does an excess of omega 6 fats in and of itself cause inflammation, or rather does it simply facilitate an overly aggressive inflammatory response to harmful stimuli?



on May 27, 2013
at 07:50 PM

key work "excess"

  • 9aa4046713d6cd5dbf3220d913a178a0

    asked by

  • Views
  • Last Activity
    1432D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers



on May 28, 2013
at 08:00 PM

It is complicated but probably not. That doesn't make it good though. In general, we know very little about surrogate markers for health, like markers for inflammation, so don't make assumptions regarding them. If omega 6 doesn't cause some marker of inflammation to go up, that does not make it ok. Likewise, if omega 6 does so that does not make it bad either.

Regarding its overall health-impact, there is limited evidence from randomized controlled trials in humans (and a bit more from animals) but what evidence there is suggests that excessive linoleic acid consumption is, at best, neutral and likely increases the risk of cancer and heart disease.

I would limit omega 6 based on (i) these trials and (ii) the fact that humans likely did not get consume much prior to proliferation of the edible oil industry.

Medium avatar

on April 16, 2014
at 04:41 PM

Maybe the question should rather be if omega-6 and PUFAs increase inflammation at all? (I know I can get a price on my head for mentioning such a thing in this forum ;)

Many (I would guess ALL big names) paleoists claim that PUFAs increase inflammation and cause fatty liver. Here is proof that that is not always, if ever, the case.

A Swedish trial from 2012: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22492369

Note that subjects were overweight but I don't see why that will nollify the findings of the study.



on May 28, 2013
at 12:30 AM

It causes it. If I had time I would post a plot, which can be found in the literature but also on Whole Health Source, that shows cell membranes fat % versus intake fractions of O3, O6. At SAD intakes, our internal membranes really have a different composition compared to a healthier diet. And that is really much of it, modified membrane cells.


on May 27, 2013
at 08:06 PM

This is a very popular topic and there should be plenty of info regarding this already on Paleo Hacks. If you click on the omega-6 tag you just assigned you can see a lot of questions, this in particular has some discussion on omega-6 and inflammation.


But they are others as well. My take for now is that it really does promote inflammation but I guess some sources would be worse than others. For instance I'd trust nuts way more than vegetable oils and trans fats. In the bodybuilding scenario, for example, Arachidonic Acid has been used as it seems to enhance muscle syntesis and to be pretty anabolic. But many people reported also that their joints started to hurt a lot. Guess what? AA is an omega-6 fatty acid.

There should also be plenty of studies regarding this, Google returns a good deal: http://scholar.google.es/scholar?q=omega+6+inflammation&btnG=&hl=es&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_vis=1

Seems that the common rule of getting no more than a 4 to 1 o6 to o3 ratio might be well founded.

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!