Elaidic acid (EA) is an 18-carbon chained fatty acid with one double bond in the trans formation at the 9th carbon (18:1n9t). It is the trans isomer of oleic acid. EA is the principal and most abundant trans fatty acid in the Western diet. It is found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and margarine. There are trace amounts of EA in the meat and dairy products from ruminant animals. EA has been shown to induce oxidative stress and alter mitochondrial signaling. It is quickly incorporated into triglycerides and cholesterol esters. Once incorporated into plasma membranes, it activates nuclear factorkB to induce adhesion molecules and become proinflammatory leading to endothelial dysfunction.
Intake of trans fats, specifically EA, has been implicated in cancer, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, neurotoxicity, obesity and many inflammatory conditions.
- Ohmori H, Fujii K, Kadochi Y, et al. Elaidic Acid, a Trans-Fatty Acid, Enhances the Metastasis of Colorectal Cancer Cells. Pathobiology : journal of immunopathology, molecular and cellular biology. 2017;84(3):144-151.
- Tewari D, Bera AK. Modulation of the voltage-dependent anion channel of mitochondria by elaidic acid. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2016;477(3):490-494.
- Ma WW, Zhao L, Yuan LH, et al. Elaidic acid induces cell apoptosis through induction of ROS accumulation and endoplasmic reticulum stress in SH-SY5Y cells. Molecular medicine reports. 2017;16(6):9337-9346.
- Mori K, Ishida T, Yasuda T, et al. Serum trans-fatty acid concentration is elevated in young patients with coronary artery disease in Japan. Circulation Journal. 2015:CJ-14- 0750.
- Chajes V, Biessy C, Ferrari P, et al. Plasma elaidic acid level as biomarker of industrial trans fatty acids and risk of weight change: report from the EPIC study. PloS one. 2015;10(2):e0118206.
- Itcho K, Yoshii Y, Ohno H, et al. Association between serum elaidic acid concentration and insulin resistance in two Japanese cohorts with different lifestyles. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis. 2017;24(12):1206-1214.
Low intake of processed foods and hydrogenated oils lead to lower levels of EA. Given the health implications, low levels are preferred.
Dietary intake of industrial hydrogenated oils and margarine, fried foods, baked goods, donuts, crackers, etc., can elevate levels. Due to the many deleterious health effects of EA as noted above, the recommendation is to limit intake of EA and trans fat.
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