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Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108(4):755-8. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511006003. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Effect of different long-chain fatty acids on cholecystokinin release in vitro and energy intake in free-living healthy males.

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Academic Unit of Surgical Oncology, Department of Oncology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.


Long-chain fatty acids have been shown to suppress appetite and reduce energy intake (EI) by stimulating the release of gastrointestinal hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK). The effect of NEFA acyl chain length on these parameters is not comprehensively understood. An in vitro screen tested the capacity of individual NEFA (C12 to C22) to trigger CCK release. There was a gradient in CCK release with increasing chain length. DHA (C22) stimulated significantly (P < 0.01) more CCK release than all other NEFA tested. Subsequently, we conducted a randomised, controlled, crossover intervention study using healthy males (n 18). The effects of no treatment (NT) and oral doses of emulsified DHA-rich (DHA) and oleic acid (OA)-rich oils were compared using 24 h EI as the primary endpoint. Participants reported significantly (P = 0.039) lower total daily EI (29 % reduction) with DHA compared to NT. There were no differences between DHA compared to OA and OA compared to NT. There was no between-treatment difference in the time to, or EI of, the first post-intervention eating occasion. It is concluded that NEFA stimulate CCK release in a chain length-dependent manner up to C22. These effects may be extended to the in vivo setting, as a DHA-based emulsion significantly reduced short-term EI.

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