The British journal of nutrition

Is there a linear relationship between the dose of ruminant trans-fatty acids and cardiovascular risk markers in healthy subjects: results from a systematic review and meta-regression of randomised clinical trials.

PMID 25345440


The effects of ruminant (R) trans-fatty acids (TFA) on the risk of CVD are still under debate. It could be argued that the lack of the effect of R-TFA may be the result of the small amount of their intake. Taking into consideration the growing available data from intervention studies, we carried out a systematic review and meta-regression to assess the impact of R-TFA intake levels on changes in the total cholesterol: HDL-cholesterol (TC:HDL-C) ratio. A systematic review of the literature was conducted and thirteen randomised clinical trials were included, yielding a total of twenty-three independent experimental groups of subjects. A univariate random-effects meta-regression approach was used to quantify the relationship between the dose of R-TFA and changes in the TC:HDL-C ratio. To consider several potential modifiers such as subject and dietary characteristics, a multivariate regression analysis was performed. We found no relationship between R-TFA intake levels of up to 4.19% of daily energy intake (EI) and changes in cardiovascular risk factors such as TC:HDL-C and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C):HDL-C ratios. In addition, a multivariate regression analysis that included other dietary variables, as well as subject baseline characteristics, confirmed that doses of R-TFA did not significantly influence the changes in the lipid ratio. Our findings showed that doses of R-TFA did not influence the changes in the ratios of plasma TC:HDL-C and LDL-C:HDL-C. These data suggest that TFA from natural sources, at least at the current levels of intake and up to 4.19% EI, have no adverse effects on these key CVD risk markers in healthy people.