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Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):698-705. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.050120. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Plasma phospholipid trans fatty acids and risk of heart failure.

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Divisions of Aging and Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.



Although trans fatty acids (TFAs) may increase the risk of dyslipidemia and coronary artery disease (CAD), limited data are available on their association with heart failure (HF).


Our goal was to assess associations of plasma and dietary TFAs with HF and CAD.


We used a prospective, nested case-control design to select 788 incident HF cases and 788 matched controls from the Physicians' Health Study for biomarker analyses and a prospective cohort for the dietary analyses. Plasma fatty acids were assessed by using gas chromatography, and dietary intake was estimated by using a food-frequency questionnaire. Self-reported HF was ascertained by using annual follow-up questionnaires with validation in a subsample. We used conditional logistic (or Cox) regression to estimate multivariable-adjusted ORs (or HRs) for HF and CAD.


Multivariable-adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for HF across consecutive quintiles of plasma trans 18:2 (linoleic acid) fatty acids were 1.0 (reference), 1.10 (0.79, 1.54), 0.88 (0.62, 1.25), 0.71 (0.49, 1.02), and 0.67 (0.45, 0.98) (P-trend = 0.01). Each SD of plasma trans 18:2 was associated with a 22% lower risk of HF (95% CI: 6%, 36%). Plasma trans 16:1 and 18:1 were not associated with risk of HF (P > 0.05). Dietary trans fats were not associated with incident HF or CAD.


Our data are consistent with a lower risk of HF with higher concentrations of plasma trans 18:2 but not with trans 16:1 or trans 18:1 fatty acids in male physicians. Dietary TFAs were not related to incident HF or CAD.

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