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Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Aug;52(2):326-34.

A carbohydrate-rich diet not only leads to incorporation of medium-chain fatty acids (6:0-14:0) in milk triglycerides but also in each milk-phospholipid subclass.

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Central Laboratory for Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands.


We isolated phospholipid (PL) subclasses from milk of women in Dominica and Belize. Fatty acid (FA) compositions of PLs and total lipids were determined. In the total-lipid fraction Dominican milk showed higher relative amounts of medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MC-SAFAs; 6:0-14:0) and 22:6n-3 and lower amounts of long-chain saturated fatty acids (LC-SAFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). There was a positive relationship between the MC-SAFA content in total lipids and total PLs. Incorporation of MC-SAFAs in PLs occurred at the expense of LC-SAFAs, MUFAs, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and long-chain PUFAs with greater than or equal to 20 carbon atoms (LC-PUFAs greater than or equal to C20). Previous studies from Western countries revealed low amounts of MCSAFAs and high amounts of PUFAs and LC-PUFAs greater than or equal to C20 in milk PLs. Our data show that carbohydrate-rich diets give rise to incorporation of MC-SAFAs in PLs at the expense of PUFAs and LC-PUFAs greater than or equal to C20. The data are discussed in relation to the presumed origin of fat-globule membrane phospholipids.

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