Preventing Infections

It is now well recognized that a diet rich in essential fatty acids can have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. But relatively little attention has been given to the fact that essential fatty acids also have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. These properties of fatty acids are so critical for under-privileged socio-economic groups who due to lack of facilities or due to crowded conditions have to battle with infectious agents everyday. Another group particularly at risk of infections are the elderly populations whose immunity is often compromised.

Additionally, there is a potential of preventing AIDS with proper fatty acids nourishment.
See an excerpt of a scientific publication from our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Undurti N. Das.


Can essential fatty acid deficiency predispose to AIDS?

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is characterized by profound immunodeficiency and a high incidence of Kaposi’s sarcoma. A high rate (about 64%) of seborrheic dermatitis among patients with AIDS has been reported; the dermatitis usually occurred before or coincident with the development of symptoms of AIDS. These findings may give a clue as to the factor(s) that may predispose to AIDS. Women with benign breast disease or breast cancer have an elevated rate of cutaneous sebum production compared with unaffected controls. Sebaceous glands hypertrophy under conditions of essential fatty acid deficiency. In experiments, administration of evening primrose oil, a rich source of linoleic acid and of its metabolite, y-linolenic acid, to women with benign breast disease led to significant improvement in their condition. These findings suggest that overproduction of sebum, benign breast disease and, possibly, seborrheic dermatitis are all due to essential fatty acid deficiency. Since seborrheic dermatitis is common in AIDS, is it likely that AIDS is also due to such a deficiency ‘Kohn and colleagues’ showed that linoleic acid and arachidonic acid can inactivate animal herpes, influenza, Sendai and Sindbis viruses within minutes of contact. It has been demonstrated that peritoneal macrophages in mice can be activated by linolenic acid and that linolenic-acid-enriched macrophages are markedly tumouricidal; they conclusively proved that lymphokine activation of macrophages is due to an increase in their linolenic acid content to about two to three times control values. Hence, it is conceivable that a lack or deficiency of linoleic acid and y-linolenic acid in a person can lead to failure of virus inactivation during viral infections, that macrophage activation may not occur and that genetic damage due to these viruses and other agents cannot be reversed or prevented. As a result, immunodeficiency may occur, and viruses may proliferate and cause genetic damage leading to the activation of oncogenes and cancer. The wasting and nutritional problems in many patients with AIDS coupled with the high rate of seborrheic dermatitis in AIDS suggest that essential fatty acid deficiency could be one of the predisposing factors for AIDS.

-Undurti N. Das, MD, FAMS