Consumption of wild ruminant fat represented the primary lipid source for pre-agricultural humans. Hence, the lipid composition of these animals’ tissues may provide insight into dietary requirements that offer protection from chronic disease in modern humans. We examined the lipid composition of muscle, brain, marrow and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) from 17 elk (Cervus elaphus), 15 mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and 17 antelope (Antilicapra americana) and contrasted them to wild African ruminants and pasture and grain-fed cattle. Muscle fatty acid (FA) was similar among North American species with polyunsaturated fatty acids/saturated fatty acids (P/S) values from (0.80 to 1.09) and n-6/n-3 FA from (2.32 to 2.60). Marrow FA was similar among North American species with high levels (59.3-67.0%) of monounsaturated FA; a low P/S (0.24 to 0.33), and an n-6/n-3 of (2.24 to 2.88). Brain had the lowest n-6/n-3 (1.20 to 1.29), the highest concentration of 22:6 n-3 (elk 8.90%; deer 9.62%; antelope 9.25%) and a P/S of 0.69. AT had the lowest P/S (0.05 to 0.09) and n-6/n-3 (2.25 to 2.96). Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomers were found in marrow of antelope (1.5%), elk (1.0%), and deer (1.0%), in AT (deer 0.3%; antelope 0.3%) in muscle (antelope 0.4%; elk, trace), but not in brain. Literature comparisons showed tissue lipids of North American and African ruminants were similar to pasture-fed cattle, but dissimilar to grain-fed cattle. The lipid composition of wild ruminant tissues may serve as a model for dietary lipid recommendations in treating and preventing chronic disease.
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- Loren Cordain, S. Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A. Watkins, James H. O’Keefe, Janette Brand Miller. Origins and evolution of the western diet: Health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:341-54.ABSTRACT There is growing awareness that the profound changes in the environment (e.g., in diet and other lifestyle conditions) that began with the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry approximately 10,000 years ago occurred too recently on an evolutionary timescale for the human genome to adjust. In conjunction with this discordance between our ancient, genetically determined biology and the nutritional, cultural and activity patterns of contemporary western populations, many of the so-called diseases of civilization have emerged. In particular, food staples and food processing procedures introduced during the Neolithic and Industrial Periods have fundamentally altered seven crucial nutritional characteristics of ancestral hominin diets: 1) glycemic load, 2) fatty acid composition, 3) macronutrient composition, 4) micronutrient density, 5) acid/base balance, 6) sodium/potassium ratio, and 7) fiber content. The evolutionary collision of our ancient genome with the nutritional qualities of recently introduced foods may underlie many of the chronic diseases of western civilization. Printable PDF version of complete article 29a. This material includes comments about the article above and a reply by Dr. Cordain and his colleagues. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Reply to SC Cunnane. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;82:483-84
Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kehler M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002; 56:181-191.