The effect of trans fatty acids on human health: Regulation and consumption patterns

Pipoyan D.,

Stepanyan S.,

Stepanyan S.,

Beglaryan M.,

Costantini L.,

Molinari R.,

Merendino N.


Health effects of trans fatty acids (TFAs) on human organisms can vary according to their type, structure, composition, and origin. Even though the adverse health effects of industrial TFAs (iTFAs) have been widely discussed, the health effects of natural TFAs (nTFAs) are still questionable. Hence, it is important to review the literature and provide an overall picture on the health effects of different TFAs coming from industrial and ruminant sources, underlining those types that have adverse health effects as well as suggesting methods for reducing their harmful effects. Multiple databases (PubMed, Medline, Cochrane Library, etc.) were searched with the key words “trans fatty acid sources”, “ruminant”, “industrial”, “conjugated trans linoleic acid”, “human”, “coronary heart disease”, “cancer”, etc. Reference lists of the studies were scanned discussing the health effects of iTFAs and nTFAs. The review of the literature showed that iTFAs are found to be more harmful than ruminant-produced nTFAs. Although several beneficial effects (such as reduced risk of diabetes) for nTFAs have been observed, they should be used with caution. Since during labeling it is usually not mentioned whether the TFAs contained in food are of industrial or natural origin, the general suggestion is to reduce their consumption.