The Diversity of Health Effects of Individual trans Fatty Acid Isomers
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There are multiple adverse effects of trans fatty acids (TFA) that are produced by partial hydrogenation (i.e., manufactured TFA), on CVD, blood lipids, inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial health, body weight, insulin sensitivity, and cancer. It is not yet clear how specific TFA isomers vary in their biological activity and mechanisms of action. There is evidence of health benefits on some of the endpoints that have been studied for some animal TFA isomers, such as conjugated linoleic acid; however, these are not a major TFA source in the diet. Future research will bring clarity to our understanding of the biological effects of the individual TFA isomers. At this point, it is not possible to plan diets that emphasize individual TFA from animal sources at levels that would be expected to have significant health effects. Due to the multiple adverse effects of manufactured TFA, numerous agencies and governing bodies recommend limiting TFA in the diet and reducing TFA in the food supply. These initiatives and regulations, along with potential TFA alternatives, are presented herein.