Low linolenate and commercial soybean oils diminish serum HDL cholesterol in young free-living adult females

J Am Coll Nutr. 1997 Dec;16(6):562-9.


Objective: A mutant soybean line (A16) low in linolenic acid content (2% of oil by weight) was developed to increase oil oxidative stability. It was unknown whether serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in humans would be affected should A16 soybean oil (A16 oil) replace commercial soybean oil in diets. This study was conducted to examine the hypothesis that in free-living normolipidemic women, the consumption of A16 oil at approximately 10% of energy intake (en%) would not affect serum lipids and lipoproteins differently than would the consumption of the same amount of a commercial soybean oil with 7% of linolenic acid content.

Design: Fifteen free-living female college students consumed the soybean oil daily with regular meals for 9 weeks in different orders, with each test oil being eaten for 3 weeks. During the study, 13 en% was provided by each test oil and a total of 35 en% was from dietary fat. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triacylglycerides (TAG) were measured. Serum total fatty acid patterns were analyzed as well.

Results: Each of the three test oils decreased serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and TAG concentrations from the baseline values. The feeding of A16 and commercial soybean oils decreased serum HDL cholesterol significantly compared with coconut oil (p < 0.05). Dietary inclusion of coconut oil increased serum myristic acid significantly more than did either soybean oil (p < 0.01). Serum arachidonic acid concentrations were significantly greater with A16 consumption than with commercial soybean oil consumption (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: A16 and commercial soybean oils both diminished serum HDL cholesterol. Although the fatty acid composition differed between the two soybean oils, A16 oil and commercial oil had similar effects on serum concentrations of lipoproteins and lipids. With increased oxidative stability, A16 oil is a good alternative to commercial soybean oil.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / drug effects*
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Dietary Fats / standards
  • Exercise
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Patient Compliance
  • Soybean Oil / analysis
  • Soybean Oil / chemistry
  • Soybean Oil / pharmacology*
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / administration & dosage


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Soybean Oil