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Linoleic Acid (LA)

What is linoleic acid (LA)?

Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid.

Chart 1. Foods High in Linoleic Acid

FOOD Linoleic Acid (g)
Safflower oil (1 tbsp, 14 g) 10
Sunflower seeds, oil roasted (1 oz, 28 g) 10
Pine nuts (1 oz, 28 g) 9
Sunflower oil (1 tbsp, 14 g) 9
Corn oil (1 tbsp, 14 g) 7
Brazil nuts (1 oz, 28 g) 7
Pumpkin seeds (1 oz, 28 g) 6
Pecans, oil roasted (1 oz, 28 g) 6
Sesame oil (1 tbsp, 14 g) 5

Chart 1 reference: USDA.gov [1]

Linoleic Acid Health Benefits

Cholesterol Levels and Coronary Heart Disease

Linoleic acid, when used instead of saturated fats, might be MILDLY EFFECTIVE in reducing the blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol and consequently reducing the risk of heart disease [1,2,4]. However, linoleic acid can also decrease HDL levels [2]. There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about the heart-protective effect of corn oil (which is high in linoleic acid) [3].

Diabetes Mellitus

There is SOME EVIDENCE that high intake of linoleic acid may improve insulin sensitivity [5].

  1. List of foods high in linoleic acid  US Department of Agriculture
  2. Grundy SM, 1994, Influence of stearic acid on cholesterol metabolism relative to other long-chain fatty acids  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  3. 2007, Qualified Health Claims: Letter of Enforcement Discretion – Corn Oil and Corn Oil-Containing Products and a Reduced Risk of Heart Disease  US Food and Drug Administration
  4. 2002, Third Report of the  National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III), p.3263,  Circulation
  5. Risérus U et al, 2009, Dietary fats and prevention of type 2 diabetes  PubMed

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