New data on harmful effects of trans-fatty acids

Bratisl Lek Listy. 2016;117(5):251-3. doi: 10.4149/bll_2016_048.


Various margarines containing trans-fatty acids were marketed as being healthier because of the absence of cholesterol, suggesting to use margarine instead of butter. Fifteen years ago, research documented the grave health risk of trans-fats (T-fat). US FDA in 2015 finalized its decision that T-fat is not safe and set a three-year time limit for complete removal of T-fat from all foods. The greatest danger from T-fat lies in its capacity to distort the cell membranes. The primary health risk identified for T-fat consumption is an elevated risk of coronary heart disease. T-fats have an adverse effect on the brain and nervous system. T-fat from the diet is incorporated into brain cell membranes and alter the ability of neurons to communicate. This can diminish mental performance. Relationship between T-fat intake and depression risk was observed. There is growing evidence for a possible role of T-fat in the development of Alzheimer´s disease and cognitive decline with age.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; cis-fatty acids; cognitive defects; food labeling.; heart disease; hydrogenated fat; margarine; membranes; plant oil; trans-fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cholesterol
  • Cognitive Aging*
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogenation
  • Margarine
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Plant Oils
  • Risk Factors
  • Trans Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Trans Fatty Acids / metabolism


  • Dietary Fats
  • Plant Oils
  • Trans Fatty Acids
  • Margarine
  • Cholesterol