Behenic acid is a saturated fatty acids, in particular it is part of the group of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs).
Accumulation of certain very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs), such as behenic acid, is associated with degenerative diseases of the central nervous system like adrenoleukodystrophy.
There are a number of genetic disorders involving accumulation of sphingolipids, usually due to the lack of enzymes necessary for the turnover of membrane VLCFAs, which include behenic, lignoceric, and hexacosanoic acids as well as the unsaturated members of the C22-24 classes, particularly nervonic acid.
– Kantor, P.F., et al., The antianginal drug trimetazidine shifts cardiac energy metabolism from fatty acid oxidation to glucose oxidation by inhibiting mitochondrial long-chain 3- ketoacyl coenzyme A thiolase. Circ Res, 86(5): p. 580-8 (2000).
– Very Long Chain Fatty Acids Are Functionally Involved in Necroptosis. [L]
Despite its low bioavailability compared with oleic acid, behenic acid is a cholesterol-raising fatty acid in humans. There has not been enough sufficient research to conclude that levels under the recommended reference range can have a negative impact on the human body.
The common lifestyle of low physical exertion and high fat diet sets a metabolic pattern that can lead to increasing levels of VLCFAs in plasma and erythrocyte membranes. The effect is mediated by hormonal responses, mainly norepinephrine and insulin, and is exacerbated by drugs that modulate energy metabolism such as the anti-anginal drug, trimetazidine.
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