Okay, so the fats we eat can end up being incorporated into our fat and phopholipid membranes. This is true of the polyunsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid, the latter of which Stephan Guyenet has explained is becoming a greater constituent of the average person's adipose tissue: ![alt text]
There's also the idea (discussed by Chris Masterjohn and others) that oxidation of PUFA rich lipid membranes contributes to poor health.
Anyway, my question is this; given that oxidation of PUFA's is accelerated by heat exposure outside the body (via cooking, etc.), is it plausible this could occur inside the body, due to exposure to really hot environments? For a typical American with cells membranes stuffed with linoleic acid, is several hours a day in 100 degree weather likely to cause harm this way?
I'm a bit of a biology nerd, so I'm curious about a lot of things like this. I appreciate any responses!
Looks like the answer is Yes:
"PUFA are more prone to autoxidation when exposed to reactive oxygen species" and "The effect of PUFA should be viewed in the light of a cost-benefit trade-off, where the benefit of high-PUFA intake is an easier access to low body temperatures and the cost is increased risk of autoxidation."
While the article addresses the effects of PUFA on hibernation, the autoxidation issue would seem to apply to us too. I'm going to try hunting up a bit more on PUFA and autoxidation.