Biomedical papers, 2011 (vol. 155), issue 2

Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2011, 155(2):117-130 | 10.5507/bp.2011.038

FATTY ACIDS AS BIOCOMPOUNDS: THEIR ROLE IN HUMAN METABOLISM, HEALTH AND DISEASE – A REVIEW. PART 1: CLASSIFICATION, DIETARY SOURCES AND BIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS

Eva Tvrzicka, Lefkothea-Stella Kremmyda, Barbora Stankova, Ales Zak
4th Department of Internal Medicine, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Background: Fatty acids are substantial components of lipids and cell membranes in the form of phospholipids. This review consists of two parts. The present part aims at describing fatty acid classification, dietary sources and biological functions. The second part will focus on fatty acid physiological roles and applications in human health and disease.

Results: In humans, not all fatty acids can be produced endogenously due to the absence of certain desaturases. Thus, specific fatty acids termed essential (linoleic, alpha-linolenic) need to be taken from the diet. Other fatty acids whose synthesis depends on essential fatty acid intake include eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, found in oily fish. Dietary sources of saturated fatty acids are animal products (butter, lard) and tropical plant oils (coconut, palm), whereas sources of unsaturated fatty acids are vegetable oils (such as olive, sunflower, and soybean oils) and marine products (algae and fish oils). Saturated fatty acids have been related to adverse health effects, whereas unsaturated fatty acids, especially monounsaturated and n-3 polyunsaturated, are thought to be protective. In addition, trans fatty acids have been shown to have negative effects on health, whereas conjugated fatty acids might be beneficial. Lastly, fatty acids are the main components of lipid classes (triacylglycerols, phospholipids, cholesteryl esters, non-esterified fatty acids).

Conclusion: Fatty acids are important biocompounds which take part in complex metabolic pathways, thus having major biological roles. They are obtained from various dietary sources which determine the type of fat consumed and consequently health outcome.

Keywords: Fatty acids, Human metabolism, Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Dietary sources, Lipid classes

Received: March 8, 2011; Accepted: June 13, 2011; Published: June 1, 2011


References

  1. Austin GL, Ogden LG, Hill JO. Trends in carbohydrate, fat, and protein intakes and association with energy intake in normalweight, overweight, and obese individuals: 1971-2006. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 93(4):836-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.000141. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  2. Sheehy T, Sharma S. The nutrition transition in Barbados: trends in macronutrient supply from 1961 to 2003. B J Nutr 2010;104:1222- 9. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  3. Simopoulos AP. Evolutionary aspects of omega-3 fatty acids in the food supply. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1999;60:421-9. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  4. Nelson DL, Cox MM. Lipid Biosynthesis. In: Principles of Biochemistry. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company; 2005. p. 787-815.
  5. SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) Committee on Toxicity. Advice on fish consumption: benefits and risks. London: The Stationary Office;2004.
  6. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergens (NDA). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for fats, including saturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol. EFSA Journal 2010;8:1461.
  7. IUPAC-IUB Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (CBN). The nomenclature of lipids. Recommendations, 1976. Eur J Biochem 1977;79:11-21. Go to original source...
  8. O'Neil MJ, Heckelman PE, Koch CB, Roman KJ, editors. The Merck Index.14th ed. An encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, and biologicals. USA, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station; 2006.
  9. Gunstone FD. Fatty Acid Structure. In: The Lipid Handbook. London: Chapman and Hall; 1994. p. 1-19.
  10. Larsson K, Quinn PJ. Physical Properties: Structural and Physical Characteristics. In: The Lipid Handbook. London: Chapman and Hall; 1994. p. 401-65.
  11. De Jong WH, Borm PJ. Drug delivery and nanoparticles:applications and hazards. Int J Nanomedicine 2008;3:133-49. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  12. Nelson DL, Cox MM. Biological Membranes and Transport. In: Principles of Biochemistry. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company; 2005. p. 369-420.
  13. Mead JF. The metabolism of the essential fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr 1958;6:656-61. Go to PubMed...
  14. Mead JF. The metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In: Holman RT, editor. Progress in the Chemistry of Fats and other Lipids. Oxford: Pergamon Press; 1971. p. 161-89.
  15. Asp ML, Collene AL, Norris LE, Cole RM, Stout MB, Tang SY, Hsu JC, Belury MA. Time-dependent effects of safflower oil to improve glycemia, inflammation and blood lipids in obese, postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, doublemasked, crossover study. Journal Clin Nutr 2011; Epub ahead of print: doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.01.001. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  16. Teng KT, Nagapan G, Cheng HM, Nesaretnam K. Palm Olein and Olive Oil Cause a Higher Increase in Postprandial Lipemia Compared with Lard but Had No Effect on Plasma Glucose, Insulin and Adipocytokines. Lipids 2011. Epub ahead of print: doi: 10.1007/s11745-010-3516-y. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  17. Compher C, Setto RW, Lew JI, Rombeau JL. Dietary fibre and its Clinical Applications to Enteral Nutrition. In: Rombeau JL, Rolandelli RH, editors. Clinical Nutrition: Enteral and Tube Feeding. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1997. p. 81-95.
  18. Hainer V, Kunesova M, Stich V, Zak A, Parizkova J. The role of oils containing triacylglycerols and medium-chain fatty acids in the dietary treatment of obesity. The effect on resting energy expenditure and serum lipids. Cas Lek Cesk 1994;133:373-5. Go to PubMed...
  19. Akihisa T, Kojima N, Katoh N, Ichimura Y, Suzuji H, Fukatsu M, Maranz S, Masters ET. Triterpene alcohol and fatty acid composition of shea nuts from seven African countries. J Oleo Sci 2010;59:351-60. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  20. Di Vincenzo D, Maranz S, Serraiocco A, Vito R, Wiesman Z, Bianchi G. Regional variation in shea butter lipid and triterpene composition in four African countries. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53:7473-9. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  21. Larsson K, Quinn PJ. Occurrence and Characteristics of Oils and Fats. In: The Lipid Handbook. London: Chapman and Hall; 1994. p. 47-223.
  22. USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Agricultural Research Service. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2010. Available from: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl
  23. Astrup A, Dyerberg J, Elwood P, Hermansen K, Hu FB, Jakobsen MU, Kok FJ, Krauss RM, Lecerf JM, Legrand P, Nestel P, Riserus U, Sanders T, Sinclair A, Tender S, Tholstrup T, Willett W. The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand in 2010? Am J Clin Nutr 2011; Epub ahead of print: doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.004622. Go to original source...
  24. Tholstrup T, Samman S. Postprandial lipoprotein(a) is affected differently by specific individual dietary fatty acids in healthy young men. J Nutr 2004;134:2550-5. Go to PubMed...
  25. Bysted A, Holmer G, Lund P, Sandstrom B, Tholstrup T. Effect of dietary fatty acids on the postprandial fatty acid composition of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins in healthy male subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 2005;59:24-34. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  26. Tholstrup T, Vessby B, Sandstrom B. Difference in effect of myristic and stearic acid on plasma HDL cholesterol within 24 h in young men. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003;57:735-42. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  27. Tholstrup T, Marckmann P, Jespersen J, Vessby B, Jart A, Sandstrom B. Effect on blood lipids, coagulation, and fibrinolysis of a fat high in myristic acid and a fat high in palmitic acid. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;60:919-25. Go to PubMed...
  28. Tholstrup T, Marckmann P, Jespersen J, Sandstrom B. Fat high in stearic acid favorably affects blood lipids and factor VII coagulant activity in comparison with fats high in palmitic acid or high in myristic and lauric acids. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:371-7. Go to PubMed...
  29. Sanders TA, Oakley FR, Cooper JA, Miller GJ. Influence of a stearic acid-rich structured triacylglycerol on postprandial lipemia, factor VII concentrations, and fibrinolytic activity in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:715-21. Go to PubMed...
  30. Tholstrup T, Teng KT, Raff M. Dietary Cocoa Butter or Refined Olive Oil Does Not Alter Postprandial hsCRP and IL-6 Concentrations in Healthy Women. Lipids 2011; Epub ahead of print: doi: 10.1007/s11745-011-3526-4. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  31. Tholstrup T. Influence of stearic acid on hemostatic risk factors in humans. Lipids 2005;40:1229-35. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  32. Vemuri M, Kelley DS. The Effects of Dietary Fatty Acids on Lipid Metabolism. In: Chow KC, editor. Fatty Acids in Foods and their Health Implications. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2007. p. 591-630. Go to original source...
  33. Ulbricht TLV, Southgate DAT. Coronary heart disease: seven dietary factors. Lancet 1991;338:985-92. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  34. Gotto AM. Contemporary diagnosis and management of lipid disorders. Newtown, PA: Handbooks in Health Care Company, 2004.
  35. Raff M, Tholstrup T, Sejrsen K, Straarup EM, Wiinberg N. Diets rich in conjugated linoleic acid and vaccenic acid have no effect on blood pressure and isobaric arterial elasticity in healthy young men. J Nutr 2006;136:992-7. Go to PubMed...
  36. Heggtveit HA, Nera EA, Beare-Rogers JL. Cardiotoxic effects of rapeseed oil: histological and biochemical studies. Recent Adv Stud Cardiac Struct Metab 1973;2:449-54. Go to PubMed...
  37. Beare-Rogers JL, Nera EA. Cardiac fatty acids and histopathology of rats, pigs, monkeys and gerbils fed rapeseed oil. Comp Biochem Physiol B 1972;41:793-800. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  38. Beare-Rogers JL, Gordon E. Myocardial lipids and nucleotides of rats fed olive oil or rapeseed oil. Lipids 1976;11:287-90. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  39. Stockler S, Opper C, Greinacher A, Hunneman DH, Korejme GC, Unkrig CJ, Hanefeld F. Decreased platelet membrane anisotropy in patients with adrenoleukodystrophy treated with erucic acid (22:1)- rich triglycerides. J Inherit Metab Dis 1997;20:54-8. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  40. Beare-Rogers JL, Nera EA, Heggtveit HA. Myocardial alteration in rats fed rapeseed oils continaing high or low levels of erucic acid. Nutr Metab 1974;17:213-22. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  41. Riccardi G, Giacco R, Rivellese AA. Dietary fat, insulin sensitivity and the metabolic syndrome. Clin Nutr 2004;23:447-56. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  42. Costa I, Moral R, Solanas M, Andreu FJ, Ruiz de Villa MC, Escrich E. High corn oil and extra virgin olive oil diets and experimental mammary carcinogenesis: clinicopathological and immunohistochemical p21Ha-Ras expression study. Virchows Arch 2011;458:141-51. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  43. Rodrigues HG, Vinolo MA, Magdalon J, Fujiwara H, Cavalcanti DM, Farsky SH, Calder PC, Hatanaka E, Curi R. Dietary free oleic and linoleic acid enhances neutrophil function and modulates the inflammatory response in rats. Lipids 2010;45:809-19. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  44. Dyerberg J, Eskesen DC, Andersen PW, Astrup A, Buemann B, Christensen JH, Clausen P, Rasmussen BF, Schmidt EB, Tholstrup T, Toft E, Toubro S, Tender S. Effects of trans- and n-3 unsaturated fatty acids on cardiovascular risk markers in healthy males. An 8 weeks dietary intervention study. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58:1062-70. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  45. Osso FS, Moreira AS, Teixeira MT, Pereira RO, Tavares do Carmo MG, Moura AS. Trans fatty acids in maternal milk lead to cardiac insulin resistance in adult offspring. Nutrition 2008;24:727-32. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  46. Booker CS, Mann JI. Trans fatty acids and cardiovascular health: translation of the evidence base. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2008;18:448-56. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  47. Salisbury AC, Chan PS, Gosch KL, Buchanan DM, Spertus JA. Patterns and predictors of fast food consumption after acute myocardial infarction. Am J Cardiol 2011; Epub ahead of print: doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.12.005. Go to original source...
  48. Kaasgaard SG, Holmer G, Hoy CE, Behrens WA, Beare-Rogers JL. Effects of dietary linseed oil and marine oil on lipid peroxidation in monkey liver in vivo and in vitro. Lipids 1992;27:740-5. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  49. Simopoulos AP. Genetic variants in the metabolism of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids: their role in the determination of nutritional requirements and chronic disease risk. Exp Biol Med 2010;235:785- 95. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  50. Burdge GC. Polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes and alpha-linolenic acid metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr 2010; Epub ahead of print: doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.008169. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  51. Simopoulos AP, Leaf A, Salem NJr. Essentiality of and recommended dietary intakes for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Ann Nutr Metab 1999;43:127-30. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  52. Brenna JT. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2002;5:127-32. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  53. Brenna JT, Salem NJr., Sinclair AJ, Cunnane SC. alpha-Linolenic acid supplementation and conversion to n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in humans. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2009;80:85-91. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  54. Simopoulos AP. Omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids: biological effects. World Rev Nutr Diet 2009;99:1-16. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  55. Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54:438-63. Go to PubMed...
  56. Burdge GC, Powell J, Dadd T, Talbot D, Civil J, Calder PC. Acute consumption of fish oil improves postprandial VLDL profiles in healthy men aged 50-65 years. Br J Nutr 2009;102:160-5. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  57. Calder PC, Yaqoob P. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and human health outcomes. Biofactors 2009;35:266-72. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  58. Calder PC, Yaqoob P. Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, cardiovascular disease and stability of atherosclerotic plaques. Cell Mol Biol 2010;56:28-37. Go to PubMed...
  59. Rossmeisl M, Syrovy I, Baumruk F, Flachs P, Janovska P, Kopecky J. Decreased fatty acid synthesis due to mitochondrial uncoupling in adipose tissue. FASEB J 2000;14:1793-1800. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  60. Flachs P, Horakova O, Brauner P Rossmeisl M, Pecina P, Franssenvan Hal N, Ruzickova J, Spojarova J, Drahota Z, Vlcek C, Keijer J, Houstek J, Kopecky J. Polyunsaturated fatty acids of marine origin upregulate mitochondrial biogenesis and induce beta-oxidation in white fat. Diabetologia 2005;48:2365-75. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  61. Janovska P, Kopecky J. Adipose tissue-muscle interactions and the metabolic effects of n-3 LCPUFA implications for programming effects of early diet. Adv Exp Med Biol 2009;646:149-57. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  62. Burdge G. Alpha-linolenic acid metabolism in men and women: nutritional and biological implications. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2004;7:137-44. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  63. Calder PC. The relationship between the fatty acid composition of immune cells and their function. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2008;79:101-8. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  64. Calder PC. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammation: from molecular biology to the clinic. Lipids 2003;38:343-52. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  65. Damsgaard CT, Lauritzen L, Calder PC, Kjaer TR, Frokiaer H. Reduced ex vivo interleukin-6 production by dietary fish oil is not modified by linoleic acid intake in healthy men. J Nutr 2009;139:1410-4. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  66. Calder PC, Deckelbaum RJ. Harmful, harmless or helpful? The n-6 fatty acid debate goes on. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2011;14:113-4. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  67. Schoonjans K, Martin G, Staels B, Auwerx J. Peroxisome proliferator- activated receptors, orphans with ligands and functions. Curr Opin Lipidol 1997;8:159-66. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  68. Staels B. The PPAR System and Regulation of Lipoprotein Metabolism. In: Betteridge DJ, editor. Lipids and vascular disease. London: Martin Dunitz Publ; 2000. p. 27-37.
  69. Vergroesen AJ. Essential Fatty Acids, Biomembranes and Eicosanoid Metabolism. In: Vergroesen AJ, Crawford M, editors. The role of fats in human nutrition. London: Academic Press; 1989. p. 17-29.
  70. Lawson RE, Moss AR, Givens DI. The role of dairy products in supplying conjugated linoleic acid to man's diet: a review. Nutr Res Rev 2001;14:153-72. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  71. Raff M, Tholstrup T, Basu S, Nonboe P, Sorensen MT, Straarup EM. A diet rich in conjugated linoleic acid and butter increases lipid peroxidation but does not affect atherosclerotic, inflammatory, or diabetic risk markers in healthy young men. J Nutr 2008;138:509-14. Go to PubMed...
  72. Raff M, Tholstrup T, Toubro S, Bruun JM, Lund P, Straarup EM, Christensen R, Sandberg MB, Mandrup S. Conjugated linoleic acids reduce body fat in healthy postmenopausal women. J Nutr 2009;139:1347-52. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  73. Pariza MW, Hargraves WA. A beef-derived mutagenesis modulator inhibits initiation of mouse epidermal tumors by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene. Carcinogenesis 1985;6:591-3. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  74. Pariza MW, Hargraves WA, Boissonneault GA. Modulation of carcinogenesis by a beef-derived mutagenesis modulator, and by dietary fat. Prog Clin Biol Res 1986; 206:265-71. Go to PubMed...
  75. Tholstrup T, Raff M, Straarup EM, Lund P, Basu S, Bruun JM. An oil mixture with trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid increases markers of inflammation and in vivo lipid peroxidation compared with cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid in postmenopausal women. J Nutr 2008;138:1445-51. Go to PubMed...
  76. Pineda-Torra, I, Gervois P, Staels B. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha in metabolic disease, inflammation, atherosclerosis and aging. Curr Opin Lipidol 1999;10:151-9. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  77. Tvrzicka E, Vecka M, Zak A. Conjugated linoleic acid-the dietary supplement in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Cas Lek Cesk 2007;146:459-65. Go to PubMed...
  78. Harwood JL. Lipid Structure. In: The Lipid Handbook. London: Chapman and Hall; 1994. p. 21-46.
  79. Havel RJ, Eder HA, Bragdon JH. The distribution and chemical composition of ultracentrifugally separated lipoproteins in human serum. J Clin Invest 1955;34:1345-53. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  80. Zuijdgeest-van Leeuwen SD, van der Heijden MS, Rietveld T, van den Berg JW, Tilanus HW, Burgers JA, Wilson JH. Fatty acid composition of plasma lipids in patients with pancreatic, lung and oesophageal cancer in comparison with healthy subjects. Clin Nutr 2002;21:225-30. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...
  81. Tvrzicka E, Vecka M, Stankova B, Zak A. Analysis of fatty acids in plasma lipoproteins by gas chromatography-flame ionization detection: Quantitative aspects. Analytica Chimica Acta 2002;465:337- 50. Go to original source...
  82. Zak A, Vecka M, Tvrzicka E, Jachymova M, Dusejovska M, Janikova L, Stankova B, Vavrova L, Kodydkova J, Zeman M. Composition of the esterified fatty acids and lipid peroxidation in metabolic syndrome. Cas Lek Cesk 2007;146:484-91. Go to PubMed...
  83. de Almeida IT, Cortez-Pinto H, Fidalgo G, Rodrigues D, Camilo ME. Plasma total and free fatty acids composition in human nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Clin Nutr 2002;21:219-23. Go to original source... Go to PubMed...