In Part Three

I’m going to continue the discussion on why vegetable oils are your brain’s worst enemy. We have already, though very briefly, gone over four of the strategies vegetable oils use to both, directly and indirectly, deteriorate cognitive function. This week will be a brief overview of the other three strategies used by these villainous oils.  These three strategies include; vegetable oils ability to add fuel to the slow-burning fire that is oxidative stress (inflammation), causes the breakdown of Microtubules (subcellular highways) and increasing the susceptibility of developing “de novo” (new) genetic mutations. Let’s dive straight into the fifth strategy.

Fire Bombing (5th Strategy)

Diets rich in vegetable oils may, in a very literal way, increase oxidative stress associated with chronic progressive diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Although oxidative reactions are always happening throughout our bodies all the time, they are natural and essential. These reactions provide us with the energy our bodies need to function. We can harness the power of oxygen to turn fat and sugar into chemical energy with a high degree of efficiency, thanks to mitochondrial enzymes. Where things go wrong is sometimes oxygen goes about in our bodies without enzymatic supervision, generating random reactions our bodies do not want. It’s these random oxidation reactions that make us age faster from the inside out since they play a primary role in increasing the aging of our bodies. While no diet will ever completely halt oxidation and its effect on your brain, there are two factors that most powerfully impact the amount of oxidation that occurs. First, is the rate at which your brain is exposed to oxidative damage. Second, is your brain’s ability to control the oxidative damage.1

A Burning Forest

As we have learned vegetable oils can increase the amount of oxidative stress put on the brain. Also, vegetable oils can deplete our brain of vital antioxidants. A lack of antioxidants will decrease our brains’ ability to control this increased amount of oxidative stress. This double whammy could be referred to as firebombing. Imagine a forest in a drought, where it’s been reduced to a tinderbox ready to go up in flames with a small spark. This is a brain that has been depleted of its antioxidants. Now imagine that forest has caught on fire and oh yes, I neglected to mention, there’s an abandon meth lab in the middle of this forest. This Meth lab represents oxidized PUFAs (vegetable oils) within the brain. What will this meth lab do when it also catches fire? Well, since it’s filled with many accelerants such as gasoline, paint thinners, and other extremely flammables that are ready to explode. It’s going to explode causing an exponential increase the fire’s intensity and size. So, a lack of antioxidants can result in poor defense against a fire. While oxidized PUFAs in the brain act as a bomb, greatly accelerating the fire.

The Breakdown of Microtubules (6th Strategy)

Think of Microtubules as subcellular highways, which are essential for normal nerve function. Vegetable oils are brain killers essentially because they are comprised of toxic compounds. 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, or 4-HNE, is one of the worst. 4-HNE is procured from linoleic (not linolenic) acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid our bodies require. Processing steps to make vegetable oils squeeze the seeds, these oils come from, too hard. This distorts their fragile fats, which can lead to the production of not just 4-HNE, but other mutated versions of this once healthy PUFA. 4-HNE disrupts cellular function in so many ways that it’s implicated in many diseases and entire journals have been devoted to describing its toxic effects.2 What’s worse, when these oils are used for cooking or exposed to heat. The continued oxidation of the linoleic acid increases the amount of 4-HNE by a factor of ten or more!

Microtubules depend on a protein called Tau. The job of tau protein is to stabilize the cellular microtubule highways like a steel girder support elevated roadways. Take away tau protein and the microtubule structure falls apart. In 2012, researchers from Rome showed that 4-HNE structurally alters a-tubilin (a component of the microtubule) and Tau protein, which caused microtubules to depolymerize.2  

Increasing the Susceptibility to Developing “De Novo” Mutations

“De Novo” mutations are alterations in a gene that is present for the first time in one family member. Which occurs because of a mutation in a germ cell (egg or sperm) of one of the parents or in the fertilized egg itself. How do vegetable oils do this? Well, the toxic fat 4-HNE is again at fault here. When 4-HNE interacts with our DNA it damages our DNA by forming a compound called an HNE-adduct. This adduct prevents DNA from copying itself accurately. Although this adduct only prevents somewhere between a 0.5 and 5 percent of our DNA being copied correctly. Which doesn’t sound like much, but without 4-HNE, the chance of error is about a millionth of a percent.4  In other words, 4-HNE increases the chances of the “De Novo” DNA mutations rate by approximately a million times!

Now that I have explained why vegetable oils are 1st  on my Don’t Eat List. Let’s move on to the 2nd ingredient – Sugar.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3869/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3449441/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118035/
  4. http://www.genetics.org/content/148/4/1667