A new study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has specified that consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFA) is linked to worsened memory function in men 45 years old and younger. The FDA in 2013 issued a preliminary warning that trans fats were no longer regarded as safe. Previous studies have associated trans fatty acids with negative effects on lipid profiles, metabolic function, insulin resistance, inflammation and cardiac and general health.
The research participants consisted of 1,018 men and women who were asked to complete a dietary survey and memory test involving word recall. On average, men aged 45 and younger recalled 86 words; however, for each addition. The research findings revealed that l gram of trans fats consumed on a daily basis, dropped memory performance to 12 fewer words recalled by young men with dTFA intake levels. Greater dTFA was significantly associated with worse word recall in younger adults.
“Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory in men during their high productivity years,” said Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, lead author and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Trans fat consumption has previously shown adverse associations to behavior and mood — other pillars of brain function. However, to our knowledge a relation to memory or cognition had not been shown.”
The Center for Disease Control has indicated that reducing dTFA consumption could prevent 10,000 to 20,000 heart attacks and 3,000 to 7,000 coronary heart disease deaths per year in the U.S.
DTFAs is adversely affecting cells by impacting on oxidative stress. Oxidative stress promotes endothelial dysfunction (limiting adequacy of blood flow and hence delivery of energy substrates), as well as mitochondrial dysfunction (reducing production of ATP from energy substrates that are delivered).
Among cognitive functions, memory may be particularly sensitive to cell energy effects. Hippocampal cells (area CA1) are selectively vulnerable to death in settings of impaired energy, such as episodes of hypoxemia, hypoglycemia, or ischemia. Thus, oxidative-energetic effects may be expected to negatively impact on hippocampal cell viability, and memory function.
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. “Dietary trans fat linked to worse memory.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2015. .