Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory condition of the colon. The cell membranes of tissue cells in the body incorporate fat or so called phospholipids into the membranes.

Omega 6 fatty acids, the type of fat found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are metabolized into arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is a precursor for inflammatory cytokines.

The study referred to here investigated if a high intake of linoleic acid, an omega 6 fatty acid, would increase the risk of developing ulcerative colitis (Tjonneland, A, et al. 2009). The participants were 203,193 men and women aged 30-74 years living in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy. They were followed for 4 years.

Of the ones developing ulcerative colitis, 47% were women.

The results showed that the highest quartile of intake of linoleic acid was associated with an increased risk of ulcerative colitis.

Usually you don’t have to worry about the intake of nuts and seeds. If you have a very high intake of omega 6 fat, it is usually caused by a high intake of vegetable oils.

It is healthier for a variety of reasons to decrease the intake of vegetable oils except olive oils, which has shown to be very beneficial.

What is also very important is to be sure you get enough of omega 3 fatty acids, which helps to reduce inflammation. For more information on the benefits of omega 3 fat, click here.


Linoleic acid, a dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, and the aetiology of ulcerative colitis: a nested case-control study within a European prospective cohort study. IBD in EPIC Study Investigators, Tjonneland A, Overvad K, Bergmann MM, Nagel G, Linseisen J, Hallmans G, Palmqvist R, Sjodin H, Hagglund G, Berglund G, Lindgren S, Grip O, Palli D, Day NE, Khaw KT, Bingham S, Riboli E, Kennedy H, Hart A. Gut. 2009 Dec;58(12):1606-11. Epub 2009 Jul 23.
  • Category: News
  • Author: Didrik Sopler
  • Published: 2020-03-28
  • Comments: 0
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