Submitted to: American Oil Chemists' Society Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The structure of dietary fatty acids clearly determines their metabolic, physiological and nutritional properties. However, prediction of the physiological effects of fatty acids from physical property data is complicated by many factors. Within subclasses of fatty acids, some clear relationships between single structure differences and health effects are apparent. For example, the chain-length of saturated fatty acids affects serum cholesterol levels and absorption. The difference in double bond configuration (cis vs. trans) is the reason 9c-18:1 but not 9t-18:1 lowers serum cholesterol. Double bond position affects acyltransferase selectivity, growth of yeast cells and beta-oxidation rates in rats. The essential fatty acid, linoleic acid (18:2n-6), is the best known example of a specific structure with critical physiological importance. Very low dietary levels of 18:2n-6 causes diminished growth, impaired reproduction, increased metabolic rate, and a multitude of other physiological effects. In contrast, the 9c,12t- and 9t-12c-18:2 isomers and the conjugated octadecadienoic acid isomers (9c,11t-18:2 and 10t,12c-18:2) have no essential fatty acid activity. The conjugated octadecadienoic isomers have anticarcinogenic activity but 18:2n-6 and the methylene interrupted mono trans 18:2 isomers are not anticarcinogenic.