We also tried to find out whether specific polyunsaturated "good" fats had protective effects on cells, and could counteract palmitate's jet-lagging and inflammatory effects.
We found that DHA, a common omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, is anti-inflammatory. Besides inhibiting the inflammatory response to palmitate, this omega-3 also prevented cell clocks from being reset.
Turning inflammatory responses on and off
I think this work has significant implications in the management or prevention of metabolic and other inflammation-related disorders such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and arthritis.
Further studies with animal models will help us understand how saturated fats exacerbate inflammation. In terms of prevention, we can start looking at timed administration of omega-3 fatty acids or other anti-inflammatory treatments to prevent this jet lag and chronic inflammation.
There could be some benefit, for example, in figuring out how to use saturated fats like palmitate to turn on the body's inflammatory responses. If we can figure out how to do that in specific tissues at specific times, we can use saturated fats to help the body respond to infection or injury.