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Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2006 Mar;56(1):12-21.

[Trans fatty acids: foods and effects on health].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1Departamento de Nutriço e Saúde, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, MG, Brasil.

Abstract

Trans fatty acids can be found in foods derived from ruminant animals and foods that contain partially hydrogenated fat such as fast foods. The consumption of trans fatty acids is larger in the United States, Canada, and some European countries than in Japan and Mediterranean countries. The incidence of coronary heart diseases is higher in countries where the consumption of trans fatty is high. Studies show that trans fatty acids can contribute to increase LDL and lipoprotein [a], and to reduce the levels of HDL. In addition, trans isomeric seems to inhibit the action of desaturase enzymes of essential fatty acids (A5- and A6-desaturase) by holding back the biosynthesis of important fatty acids such as arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). With respect to pregnant women's and infant's health, concentrations of trans fatty acids ingested by the mother are associated to concentrations found in the maternal milk. Besides the milk, the trans fatty acids can be transferred to the newly born through the placenta. Studies suggest that trans fatty acids can affect intrauterine growth due to the inhibition of the conversion of essential fatty acids by desaturase enzymes. The inhibition of DHA can also cause early atherosclerosis lesion. However, studies on the effects of trans fatty acids on health are still inconclusive and there are no current recommendations on their consumption. Additionally, in Brazil, studies to determine the composition of trans isomeric in foods are still incipient, which indicates a great need of research in this area.

PMID:
16786729
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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