Trans fatty acids and coronary heart disease

Nutr Clin Pract. 2006 Oct;21(5):505-12. doi: 10.1177/0115426506021005505.


Epidemiologic evidence has linked trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the diet to coronary heart disease in human populations. It has been estimated that dietary TFAs from partially hydrogenated oils may be responsible for between 30,000 and 100,000 premature coronary deaths per year in the United States. Although it is known that TFAs increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and decrease high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels (markers of coronary heart disease), there is little known about the mechanisms by which TFAs actually function at the cellular level. It is unknown what levels of TFAs are clinically significant and it is unclear how TFAs are associated with cardiac arrhythmias or sudden cardiac death. We hypothesize that TFAs affect membrane structure, thus altering enzymatic pathways that may subsequently induce cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Risk Factors
  • Trans Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Trans Fatty Acids / adverse effects*


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Lipids
  • Trans Fatty Acids