Influence of stearic acid on cholesterol metabolism relative to other long-chain fatty acids

Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Dec;60(6 Suppl):986S-990S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/60.6.986S.


Stearic acid is a long-chain saturated fatty acid. However, in contrast with other saturated fatty acids, stearic acid apparently does not raise serum cholesterol concentrations. Studies carried out three decades ago provided strong suggestive evidence that this was the case. More recent investigations that specifically compared stearic acid with other fatty acids in human studies have confirmed that stearic acid is not hypercholesterolemic. Stearic acid was shown not to raise low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol relative to oleic acid, which is known to be neutral in its effects on cholesterol concentrations. In contrast, palmitic acid, another long-chain saturated fatty acid, definitely raises cholesterol concentrations. For this reason, fats rich in stearic acid might be used in place of those high in palmitic acid in cholesterol-lowering diets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lauric Acids / metabolism
  • Myristic Acid
  • Myristic Acids / metabolism
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Palmitic Acids / metabolism
  • Stearic Acids / metabolism*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lauric Acids
  • Myristic Acids
  • Palmitic Acids
  • Stearic Acids
  • Myristic Acid
  • lauric acid
  • Palmitic Acid
  • stearic acid
  • Cholesterol