Optimal Result: 40 - 122 µmol/L.

Vaccenic acid is a naturally occurring trans-fatty acid. Vaccenic acid is called this way as it is found in cow’s milk. The latin word vacca means cow.

Vaccenic acid is the most commonly occuring trans-fatty acid in ruminant fats and the meat and dairy products they provide.

Epidemiological and clinical studies have shown consistently that trans-fatty acids, such as vaccenic acid, increase cardiovascular risk and adversely affect blood lipids by raising the LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio. [L]


– A prospective study of intake of trans-fatty acids from ruminant fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and marine oils and mortality from CVD. [L]

– Effect of Animal and Industrial Trans Fatty Acids on HDL and LDL Cholesterol Levels in Humans – A Quantitative Review [L]

– Fatty acid composition in chronic heart failure: low circulating levels of eicosatetraenoic acid and high levels of vaccenic acid are associated with disease severity and mortality. [L]

– Cis-vaccenic acid and the Framingham Risk Score predict chronic kidney disease: the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) [L]

– PubChem – Vaccenic Acid [L]

– trans-Fatty acids promote proinflammatory signaling and cell death by stimulating the apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1)-p38 pathway [L]

– Human health benefits of vaccenic acid. [L]

– B. A. Golomb, M. A. Evans, H. L. White, J. E. Dimsdale. Trans fat consumption and aggression. PLoS ONE 2012 7(3):e32175 [L]

– I. Laake, J. I. Pedersen, R. Selmer, B. Kirkhus, A. S. Lindman, A. Tverdal, M. B. Veierod. A prospective study of intake of trans-fatty acids from ruminant fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and marine oils and mortality from CVD. Br. J. Nutr. 2012 108(4):743 – 754 [L]

– Report Offers New Eating and Physical Activity Targets To Reduce Chronic Disease Risk [L]

– Trans Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease, The new England Journal of Medicine [L]

What does it mean if your Vaccenic result is too low?

Decreased dietary intake of dairy and meat from ruminant animals may result in lower levels of VA. Because it can also be endogenously produced and further metabolized into CLA, lack of precursor fatty acids, or rapid metabolism by desaturation, may result in lower levels.

What does it mean if your Vaccenic result is too high?

Trans-fatty acids are increasing one’s risks of heart disease, sudden death, diabetes and potentially even aggression [LL].

– A study supports that trans-fatty acid intake, irrespective of source, increases CVD risk.

– A study found that patients with heart failure had particularly high levels of vaccenic acid in plasma and it was significantly associated with total mortality in that heart failure population.

– A cross-sectional study showed that vaccenic acid was positively associated with a reduced eGFR (=Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate), which is a marker for kidney health and hence reduced kidney function.

– Trans-fatty acid consumption is a major risk factor for various disorders, including atherosclerosis.

– Vaccenic acid intake or serum concentrations may be associated with increased cancer risk. [L]

Possible treatment options:

The National Academies of Science, concluded that the only safe intake of trans fats is zero [L]. Following a whole foods plant-based (=vegan) diet is recommended. To avoid all trans fats, avoid meat and dairy, refined oils, and anything that says “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list.

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