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July 2021

Atherosclerosis. 1987 May; 65(1-2): 159-66.

Fatty acid patterns in triglycerides, diglycerides, free fatty acids, cholesteryl esters and phosphatidylcholine in serum from vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Melchert HU, Limsathayourat N, Mihajlović H, Eichberg J, Thefeld W, Rottka H.

The differences in the fatty acid spectra of serum samples obtained from vegetarians (62 females, 40 males) and non-vegetarians (70 females, 38 males) were evaluated in a matched-pair study design. This study population made it possible to examine 48 female and 31 male pairs whose age difference did not exceed 3 years. The pairs were further matched by education, social status and health-consciousness. The fatty acid pattern of whole serum total lipids and HDL total lipids were determined by GLC. In particular linoleic, linolenic, oleic and docosahexaenoic acid reveal statistically significant differences due to different nutritional habits. A subsample (n = 20) of sera from the 2 groups was investigated by separation of lipid classes by TLC and GLC on a SP 2,340 fused-silica capillary column in order to separate cis-trans fatty acids additionally. This part of the study gives detailed information concerning the fatty acid composition of cholesteryl esters, triglycerides, diglycerides, free fatty acids and phosphatidylcholine. In all those fractions the fatty acid profiles reflect the dietary consumption of lipids. Palmitoleic, vaccenic and docosahexaenoic acid as markers of omnivorous nutrition reach levels of 5, 5 and 3% respectively in non-vegetarians, while they remain remarkably lower in vegetarians. The most prominent difference is the higher amount of linoleic acid in all lipid classes of vegetarian serum samples. The highest amount of trans fatty acids (up to 3%) was detected in di- and triglycerides.

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