Effects of changing from a diet with saturated fat to a diet with n-6 polyunsaturated fat on the serum metabolome in relation to cardiovascular disease risk factors

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Purpose: Replacing saturated fatty acids (SFA) with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Yet, the changes in the serum metabolome after this replacement is not well known. Therefore, the present study aims to identify the metabolites differentiating diets where six energy percentage SFA is replaced with PUFA and to elucidate the association of dietary metabolites with cardiometabolic risk markers.

Methods: In an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, 99 moderately hyper-cholesterolemic adults (25-70 years) were assigned to a control diet (C-diet) or an experimental diet (Ex-diet). Both groups received commercially available food items with different fatty acid compositions. In the Ex-diet group, products were given where SFA was replaced mostly with n-6 PUFA. Fasting serum samples were analysed by untargeted ultra-performance liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC-HRMS). Pre-processed data were analysed by double cross-validated Partial Least-Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) to detect features differentiating the two diet groups.

Results: PLS-DA differentiated the metabolic profiles of the Ex-diet and the C-diet groups with an area under the curve of 0.83. The Ex-diet group showed higher levels of unsaturated phosphatidylcholine plasmalogens, an unsaturated acylcarnitine, and a secondary bile acid. The C-diet group was characterized by odd-numbered phospholipids and a saturated acylcarnitine. The Principal Component analysis scores of the serum metabolic profiles characterizing the diets were significantly associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels but not with glycaemia.

Conclusion: The serum metabolic profiles confirmed the compliance of the participants based on their diet-specific metabolome after replacing SFA with mostly n-6 PUFA. The participants' metabolic profiles in response to the change in diet were associated with cardiovascular disease risk markers. 

This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01679496 on September 6th 2012.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)2079-2089
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Cardiovascular risk markers, Nordic diet, Fatty acids, Phospholipids, Metabolomics

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