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Can individual fatty acids be used as functional biomarkers of dairy fat consumption in relation to cardiometabolic health? A narrative review

Sellem, L. ORCID:, Jackson, K. G. ORCID:, Paper, L., Givens, I. D. ORCID: and Lovegrove, J. A. ORCID: (2022) Can individual fatty acids be used as functional biomarkers of dairy fat consumption in relation to cardiometabolic health? A narrative review. British Journal of Nutrition, 128 (12). pp. 2373-2386. ISSN 0007-1145

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0007114522000289


In epidemiological studies, dairy food consumption has been associated with minimal effect or decreased risk of some cardiometabolic diseases (CMD). However, current methods of dietary assessment do not provide objective and accurate measures of food intakes. Thus, the identification of valid and reliable biomarkers of dairy intake is an important challenge to best determine the relationship between dairy consumption and health status. This review investigated potential biomarkers of dairy fat consumption, such as odd-chain, trans- and branched-chain fatty acids, which may improve the assessment of full-fat dairy product consumption. Overall, the current use of serum/plasma fatty acids as biomarkers of dairy fat consumption is mostly based on observational evidence, with a lack of well-controlled, dose response intervention studies to accurately assess the strength of the relationship. Circulating odd-chain saturated fatty acids and trans-palmitoleic acid are increasingly studied in relation to CMD risk and seem to be consistently associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in prospective cohort studies. However, associations with cardiovascular diseases are less clear. Overall, adding less studied fatty acids such as vaccenic and phytanic acids to the current available evidence may provide a more complete assessment of dairy fat intake and minimise potential confounding from endogenous synthesis. Finally, the current evidence base on the direct effect of dairy fatty acids on established biomarkers of CMD risk (e.g. fasting lipid profiles and markers of glycaemic control) mostly derives from cross-sectional, animal, and in vitro studies, and should be strengthened by well-controlled human intervention studies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Research Group
ID Code:102776
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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