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Specific Omega-6 Fatty Acid Found To Be Important For Skin Health

February 1, 2010: 02:28 AM EST
The human body makes the omega-6 fatty acid known as arachidonic acid from linoleic acid obtained in our diets and found mainly in vegetable oils. Arachidonic acid is essential for producing prostaglandins, which are important to immune function. Now new animal research has found that the compound also plays a major role in maintaining skin health. U.S. researchers knocked out a gene in mice that enables the body to make an enzyme that helps synthesize arachidonic acid. Mice without that gene developed severe ulcerative dermatitis: they were very itchy, scratched themselves continuously, and developed bleeding sores. The problem was cured when the animals were fed arachidonic acid. The scientists said their discovery may point the way to treatments for the flaky, itchy skin that sometimes develops in infants without an attributable cause.
Chad K. Stroud, Takayuki Y. Nara, Manuel Roqueta-Rivera, et al., "Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation fully restores fertility and spermatogenesis in male delta-6 desaturase-null mice", Journal of Lipid Research, February 01, 2010, © American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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