No PUFA No Cry

I met a cancer researcher the other day and she was explaining to me why the polyunsaturated fats are the safe fats. I got the feeling that she had never heard of malondialdehyde (MDA) and all the other breakdown products of the PUFAs. So I'm going to keep this simple and say that I think it's fairly difficult to have cancer without PUFAs, and I also think that that's probably an understatement.

Now I know what I think doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things, because I’m not a scientist, or even a doctor for that matter. I’m certainly in no position to give any kind of health advice, and I’m not about to. But as an ex lawyer I’m pretty good at detecting liars, so I’ve put together a few studies that sound to me like they’re telling the truth about PUFAs and how they cause cancer, not to mention plenty of other inflammatory diseases.

It’s true they’re pretty easy to miss because most people aren’t looking for studies on lipid peroxidation, or malondialdehyde for that matter, and when they see these terms mentioned they don’t automatically think of the PUFAs. But I’m here to tell you that lipid peroxidation is all about polyunsaturated fats, and about what happens when they break down in your body. It’s worth taking note.

Lipid Peroxidation and Its Toxicological Implications; Toxicol Res. 2011 Mar; 27(1): 1–6. 
Lipid peroxidation is a free radical oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid or arachidonic acid. This process has been related with various pathologies and disease status mainly because of the oxidation products formed during the process. The oxidation products include reactive aldehydes such as malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal. These reactive aldehydes can form adducts with DNAs and proteins, leading to the alterations in their functions to cause various diseases.

I’m not knocking ‘cancer research’ and I’ve no doubt some cancer researchers have heard about oxidative stress and free radical damage, but I guess some are yet to get the memo about the relationship between these well known cancer promoting things and the breakdown products of the PUFAs. Or maybe the problem is there is no memo, or maybe there is, and it’s just that the memo doesn’t mention it. In any case I believe there is good biological evidence out there showing that this link is real.

[Malondialdehyde (MDA) as a lipid peroxidation marker];Wiad Lek. 2004;57(9-10):453-5.

…Free radicals generate the lipid peroxidation process in an organism. Malondialdehyde (MDA) is one of the final products of polyunsaturated fatty acids peroxidation in the cells. An increase in free radicals causes overproduction of MDA. Malondialdehyde level is commonly known as a marker of oxidative stress and the antioxidant status in cancerous patients.

Call me a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy nut, but I have noticed over the years that a lot of the studies that talk about the breakdown products of the PUFAs, and their direct connection with the development and advancement of cancer, forget to mention where these products of lipid peroxidation come from. I mean they don’t just miraculously accumulate. For instance, this next study is all about the link between the PUFA byproducts and cancer, but no mention of the PUFAs. Coincidence perhaps.

Plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in breast and lung cancer patients; J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001 Apr;26(2):141-4. 

…To measure the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of lipid peroxidation, in patients with breast and lung cancer…Plasma MDA levels in cancer patients were significantly higher than those in controls… The results of this study provide further evidence of the relationship between lipid peroxidation and cancer…

It’s not always true however. This next study mentions all these things together. It talks about the PUFAs and lipid peroxidation, and oxidative stress and free radical damage, and how all of this is used as a marker for cancer advancement. When I see things like that, it starts to look a bit like an open and shut case. Perhaps one problem with cancer research, is that researchers tend to look at what they’re told to look at, and often that’s a minute part of the picture. Unfortunately the more you specialize, the easier it is to ignore what the big picture is telling you. Like for instance maybe removing the PUFAs from the diet. Sounds too simple I know.

Evaluation of the Level of Zinc and Malondialdehyde in Basal Cell Carcinoma; Iran J Public Health. 2017 Aug; 46(8): 1104–1109. 

…BCC is one of the most common skin cancers…The most important cause of this cancer is oxidative stress and abnormal production of free radicals…lipid peroxidation (LPO) significantly increased in melanoma cancer but in nonmelanoma cancer, this increase is not significant…A significant relationship may exist between the increase in MDA and BCC….MDA is a highly toxic molecule produced from peroxidation of unsaturated fatty acids and can change the biologic effect of proteins by changing their structure…Increased MDA is sign of oxidation…

Now we all know how genetic mutations get the blame for cancer, and I have no doubt most cancer researchers out there know about this clear cut case for cancer creation, but how often do you hear them talking about what actually causes the mutations in the first place. I know, I know, it’s random. Or maybe it’s random consumption of PUFAs.

Once again in this next study there’s lots of mention of MDA, and there’s also a few words in there starting with poly, but miraculously not one mention of the polyunsaturated fats and the way they break down to give us lots and lots of the mutagenic, genotoxic MDA. I know of one cancer researcher who had never heard of this relationship, so much so that she went to great lengths to explain to me why we want to stop eating the harmful saturated fats, you know, because they’re saturated and all, and replace them with the ‘protective’ polyunsaturated ones.

Malondialdehyde, a Product of Lipid Peroxidation, Is Mutagenic in Human Cells; DNA: Replication, Repair, and Recombination| Volume 278, ISSUE 33, P31426-31433, August 15, 2003

Considerable evidence indicates that endogenous DNA damage contributes significantly to the causation of cancer…MDA was found to induce mutations in this system demonstrating for the first time that this metabolic product is a human mutagen…Not only does the study reveal that MDA-induced DNA damage is mutagenic, it also provides evidence for the occurrence of a previously undetected lesion that may be highly mutagenic, a DNA ICL. This lesion may contribute significantly to the genotoxicity associated with lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress.

I’ve even seen it argued that lipid peroxidation, and oxidative stress, and free radicals, actually protect against cancer. That would make the PUFAs protective indeed. One problem with this however, is you’d have to go on to argue that chronic inflammation is good, and that rising levels of nitric oxide, and endotoxin, and some other inflammatory things are good, and protect against cancer and disease. Wait a minute. There are people out there suggesting this and more. Funnily enough the cancer researcher I talked to was examining the link between endotoxin and cancer. I agree there is plenty of evidence for this, and I have written about it in detail previously. But unfortunately for her argument, the PUFAs and their breakdown products, and nitric oxide, and endotoxin, all promote each other, and promote chronic inflammation, and the advancement of cancer. Case closed.     
 

In all seriousness though, there is quite a bit of what looks to me like good science out there which knows about the dangers of the PUFAs, and it may just be that the mainstream hasn’t caught up with this science yet. I don’t know though, my BS detector is going off, and I think the truth is that this information is purposefully being ignored, suppressed, ridiculed, and lied about. Make up your own mind.

Plasma malondialdehyde levels and CXCR4 expression in peripheral blood cells of breast cancer patients; Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology volume 135pages997–1004(2009)
Lipid peroxidation, the result of nonenzymatic autooxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, presents numerous harmful effects on biological systems and has been implicated in diseases like cancer…In all stages, MDA levels in total breast cancer patients (1.41 ± 0.11) were significantly higher (P < 0.01) than those in healthy subjects…

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