Inuit genomes scan reveals omega-3 PUFAs role in surviving Arctic extremities

During a recently conducted study, scientists have come to know that good genes may be responsible for the Inuit high-fat diet.

Mediterranean diet, a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fruits, vegetables and fish, is one of the most talked about diets of this planet. Scientists believe that Mediterranean diet includes one of the healthiest eating patterns identified to date; according to them, following this eating pattern can keep us protected from arrange of chronic ailments.

The typical meal of people in the Arctic region looks much different from Mediterranean diet. It doesn’t contain too much of vegetables and fruits as getting them is pretty difficult in such harsh climate. Instead, a traditional Arctic meal consists of the meat of a fatty marine creature such as a whale or a seal. The surprising fact is that in spite of consuming such high-fat diet, people in this part of the world tend to have low diabetes and heart disease rates.

Earlier, experts used to believe that the rates of those ailments are low among the Arctic people due to the high amount of omerga-3 fatty acids present in the blubber and meat of marine animals consumed by them.

However, according to a study published in the journal Science on Tuesday, the Arctic people have evolved some genetic adaptations, which allow them to eat fat in much higher quantities than the majority of the other people living on this planet.

The study was lead by the University of California, Berkeley’s Rasmus Nielsen, who is a computational biologist by profession. He and his colleagues first tried to spot the genetic differences between 191 Inuit from Greenland, 44 ethnic Chinese and 60 Europeans.

Nielsen informed that when looking for genetic differences the researchers came across a particular group of genes that was offering a significantly strong signal. These are genes that regulate the amount of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids one can make himself or herself naturally.

Almost every Inuit participating in the study was found to have differences in these genes, which according to the researchers, might be responsible for slowing down their body’s natural production of omega 6 and omega-3 fats. Also, the genes were also found to be playing a role in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL, the cholesterol type responsible for causing heart diseases.