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aimee
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Hi M & C,

I’m playing catch -up.

If I had to name one area in nutrition that makes my head spin the most it is fatty acids. This is my understanding, but keep in mind my simplification of a very very complex topic may be incorrect. Omega 6’s in general on their own are not inflammatory, but that they can be used as a building block for the body to make mediators of inflammation both pro and con.

Linoleic acid (LA) is an Omega 6 essential fatty acid (EFA) made by plants and is vital for skin health. Corn and soy are good sources, so animals raised on corn and soy like poultry and pigs can be good sources of this EFA.

Arachidonic acid (AA) is an omega 6 made by animals from LA. and it is the primary building block for the production of inflammatory mediators. Dogs make AA from LA, cats cannot, so it is essential in this species, one reason dogs are classified as omnivores while cats are classified as carnivores.

The Omega 3, alpha linolenic (ALA), is made by plants and is the counter partner to linoleic acid (Both have 18 carbons). EPA and DHA are Omega 3’s made by algae but can also be made from ALA by some animals. The ability to do so and how efficient that process is differs among species.

Here is where I’m not confident in my understanding, I think that when other structural FA are in short supply, cell membranes become saturated with Omega 6’s at levels near their dietary requirement. Meaning that higher levels of Omega 6 in the diet do not necessarily mean higher levels of Omega 6 in the membrane. Supplementation with Omega 3 is done to provide a different set of building blocks so that instead of the cell membrane being made with all Omega 6 it is made with Omega 6 and Omega 3. Now when Cox or Lox enzymes are present fewer inflammatory compounds will be produced.

So my understanding is that the key to decreasing inflammation is to provide Omega 3’s in the diet to meet the levels on a metabolic kg body weight basis that have been shown or believed to be beneficial for the condition you want to address, and then because the Omega 3’s and 6’s compete for the same enzyme and metabolic pathways, control omega 6’s. so that the 6’s do not outcompete the 3’s for access to enzymes.

With that as a background I find the statement that chicken is inflammatory, baffling. Chicken can be a good source of LA, an EFA, and while LA can be converted to AA which then can in the presence of COX/LOX become a mediator of inflammation, on its own, I don’t see it as a de facto source of inflammation. Nor do I understand the assessment that your dog is likely allergic to chicken based on a physical exam in the absence of any typical GI or skin signs.

In general, what I find in the holistic field is that a mustard seed of truth morphs into a sweeping overgeneralization which is then presented as fact. That is how I view this bit of information you were given.