Effect of different fat-enriched meats on non-cholesterol sterols and oxysterols as markers of cholesterol metabolism: Results of a randomized and cross-over clinical trial

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Sep;25(9):853-859. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Jun 23.


Background and aim: Different kinds of fatty acids can affect the synthesis, absorption, and elimination of cholesterol. This study was carried out to assess the associations of cholesterol metabolism with the intake of two meats with different fatty acid composition in healthy volunteers.

Methods and results: The study group was composed of 20 subjects (12 males and eight females; age, 34.4 ± 11.6 years; body mass index (BMI), 23.5 ± 2.3 kg/m(2); low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, 2.97 ± 0.55 mmol/l; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, 1.61 ± 0.31 mmol/l; triglycerides (TG), 1.06 ± 0.41 mmol/l) who completed a 30-day randomized and cross-over study to compare the cholesterol metabolism effect of 250 g of low-fat lamb versus 250 g of high-fat lamb per day in their usual diet. Cholesterol absorption, synthesis, and elimination were estimated from the serum non-cholesterol sterol and oxysterol concentrations analyzed by a high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). No changes in weight, plasma lipids, or physical activity were observed across the study. Cholesterol intestinal absorption was decreased with both diets. Cholesterol synthesis and elimination decreased during the low-fat lamb dietary intervention (ρ = 0.048 and ρ = 0.005, respectively).

Conclusion: Acute changes in the diet fat content modify the synthesis, absorption, and biliary elimination of cholesterol. These changes were observed even in the absence of total and LDL cholesterol changes in plasma.

Registration number for clinical trials: ClinicalTrials.gov PRS, NCT02259153.

Keywords: Cholesterol metabolism; Fatty acid; Non-cholesterol sterol; Oxysterol.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Apolipoproteins B / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / analysis
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Red Meat*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sterols / blood*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Sterols
  • Triglycerides

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02259153