Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Trans-fatty acids and Alzheimer's

Together with a genetic suceptibility, those seniors who consumed more trans-fats in their diets had a 2.5 times greater correlation of Alzheimer's disease. http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/60/2/194

In the 1950's researchers discovered a link between saturated fat (animal fat) and heart disease. So, the food industry switched from using lard to using vegetable oil. However, vegetable oil is a liquid at room temperature and food makers needed a solid. So, scientists at Proctor & Gamble discovered the process of hydrogenation which removes some of the double bonds (kinks) in the long chain fatty acids. The resulting substance is a thick, greasy substance known as Crisco. However, some of the remaining double bonds get switched form the native cis- form to the abnormal trans- form.
What this means is that the body doesn't know what to do with the trans- form.

The body is picky about what molecules. The idea of chirality (handedness) is very important principle. Aminoacids, sugars, fats, and drugs all must be in the right configuration to be recignized and used by the body. Controlling the chirality of drugs is a $90 billion dollar industry (e.g. albuterol/levalbuterol, celexa/lexapro, claritin/clarinex).

Several things determine if a carbon chain is a gas, liguid(oil), or solid(wax) at room temperature. 1. length (e.g. propane[3C] = gas; octane[8C]= liquid; palmitate[16C]= wax). 2. functional groups (i.e. ethanol[2C+OH]= liguid). 3. double bonds (i.e. polyunsaturated fat[16C]= liquid). So, overal chain length helps the molecules stick together better at room temperture. Thus, long carbon chains are solid and short carbon chains are gases. However, functional groups like an alcohol can make chains stick together better. For example, ethanol[2C+OH] is a liquid at room temperature instead of a gas like propane[3C] and methane[1C]. An alcohol[OH] group is related to water[H2O] which is very cohesive. Double bonds on the other hand make long carbon chains not stick together as well at room temperature. A double bond makes a kink in the carbon chain which prevents them from stacking well together. This is what makes vegetable oil[14C] a liquid instead of wax at room temperature. Vegetable oil is polyunsaturated (multiple double bonds).

A study was reported in the annals of neurology which followed a cohort of elderly people in the Chicago area. They had these seniors record a few times a year what they ate during the day. It so happened that certain seniors in the study went on to develop Alzheimer's disease. Then with the help of a new USDA data base the researchers were able to make correlations between diet and risk of developing the disease. Well, there was only one very strong corellation and it was trans-fats. So, together with a genetic suceptibility, those seniors who consumed more trans-fats in their diets had a 2.5 times greater correlation of Alzheimer's disease. http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/60/2/194

Proctor & Gamble is currently selling off and devesting itself of all its food processing and production business.

1 comment:

BRoz said...

In the 1950's researchers discovered a link between saturated fat (animal fat) and heart disease. So, the food industry switched from using lard to using vegetable oil. However, vegetable oil is a liquid at room temperature and food makers needed a solid. So, scientists at Proctor & Gamble discovered the process of hydrogenation which removes some of the double bonds (kinks) in the long chain fatty acids. The resulting substance is a thick, greasy substance known as Crisco. However, some of the remaining double bonds get switched form the native cis- form to the abnormal trans- form. What this means is that the body doesn't know what to do with the trans- form.

The body is picky about what molecules. The idea of chirality (handedness) is very important principle. Aminoacids, sugars, fats, and drugs all must be in the right configuration to be recignized and used by the body. Controlling the chirality of drugs is a $90 billion dollar industry (e.g. albuterol/levalbuterol, celexa/lexapro, claritin/clarinex).

Several things determine if a carbon chain is a gas, liguid(oil), or solid(wax) at room temperature. 1. length (e.g. propane[3C] = gas; octane[8C]= liquid; palmitate[16C]= wax). 2. functional groups (i.e. ethanol[2C+OH]= liguid). 3. double bonds (i.e. polyunsaturated fat[16C]= liquid). So, overal chain length helps the molecules stick together better at room temperture. Thus, long carbon chains are solid and short carbon chains are gases. However, functional groups like an alcohol can make chains stick together better. For example, ethanol[2C+OH] is a liquid at room temperature instead of a gas like propane[3C] and methane[1C]. An alcohol[OH] group is related to water[H2O] which is very cohesive. Double bonds on the other hand make long carbon chains not stick together as well at room temperature. A double bond makes a kink in the carbon chain which prevents them from stacking well together. This is what makes vegetable oil[14C] a liquid instead of wax at room temperature. Vegetable oil is polyunsaturated (multiple double bonds).

A study was reported in the annals of neurology which followed a cohort of elderly people in the Chicago area. They had these seniors record a few times a year what they ate during the day. It so happened that certain seniors in the study went on to develop Alzheimer's disease. Then with the help of a new USDA data base the researchers were able to make correlations between diet and risk of developing the disease. Well, there was only one very strong corellation and it was trans-fats. So, together with a genetic suceptibility, those seniors who consumed more trans-fats in their diets had a 2.5 times greater correlation of Alzheimer's disease. http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/60/2/194

Proctor & Gamble is currently selling off and devesting itself of all its food processing and production business.