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Br J Nutr. 2014 Oct 28;112(8):1315-22. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002001. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Effects of an energy-restricted diet rich in plant-derived α-linolenic acid on systemic inflammation and endothelial function in overweight-to-obese patients with metabolic syndrome traits.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science,Nutritional Physiology, University of Bonn,Endenicher Allee 11-13,53115Bonn,Germany.
Department of Human Nutrition,University of Applied Sciences,48149Muenster,Germany.
Heart and Diabetes Center NRW, Ruhr-University Bochum,32545Bad Oeynhausen,Germany.


Plant-derived α-linolenic acid (ALA) may reduce the risk of CVD, possibly by decreasing systemic inflammation and improving endothelial function. In the present study, the effects of a hypoenergetic diet rich in ALA (3·4 g/d) on the biomarkers of systemic inflammation and vascular function were investigated in eighty-one overweight-to-obese patients with metabolic syndrome traits in comparison with a hypoenergetic diet low in ALA (0·9 g/d, control). After a 6-month dietary intervention, there were significant decreases in the serum concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), TNF-α, IL-6, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), soluble endothelial selectin (sE-selectin) and asymmetric dimethylarginine in both dietary groups. However, no inter-group differences were observed for all these changes. The serum concentration of YKL-40 (human cartilage glycoprotein 39 or chitinase-3-like protein 1) decreased after the ALA diet when compared with the control diet (P< 0·05 for time × treatment interaction). Plasma concentrations of fibrinogen did not significantly change in the two dietary groups. The decreases in the serum concentrations of sICAM-1, sE-selectin, CRP and YKL-40 were significantly correlated with the decreases in body fat mass. In conclusion, the present study indicates that in overweight-to-obese patients with metabolic syndrome traits, both vascular function and inflammation are improved during body-weight loss. The high ALA intake led to a more pronounced reduction in the serum concentration of YKL-40 compared with the intake of the low-ALA control diet, indicating the existence of independent favourable physiological effects of ALA during weight loss.

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