Uncommon fatty acids and cardiometabolic health

Kelei Li, Andrew J. Sinclair, Feng Zhao, Duo Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality. The effects of several unsaturated fatty acids on cardiometabolic health, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), α linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), and oleic acid (OA) have received much attention in past years. In addition, results from recent studies revealed that several other uncommon fatty acids (fatty acids present at a low content or else not contained in usual foods), such as furan fatty acids, n-3 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and conjugated fatty acids, also have favorable effects on cardiometabolic health. In the present report, we searched the literature in PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library to review the research progress on anti-CVD effect of these uncommon fatty acids. DPA has a favorable effect on cardiometabolic health in a different way to other long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFAs), such as EPA and DHA. Furan fatty acids and conjugated linolenic acid (CLNA) may be potential bioactive fatty acids beneficial for cardiometabolic health, but evidence from intervention studies in humans is still limited, and well-designed clinical trials are required. The favorable effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on cardiometabolic health observed in animal or in vitro cannot be replicated in humans. However, most intervention studies in humans concerning CLA have only evaluated its effect on cardiometabolic risk factors but not its direct effect on risk of CVD, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) will be required to clarify this point. However, several difficulties and limitations exist for conducting RCTs to evaluate the effect of these fatty acids on cardiometabolic health, especially the high costs for purifying the fatty acids from natural sources. This review provides a basis for better nutritional prevention and therapy of CVD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1559
Number of pages14
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2018


  • Antioxidant
  • Blood lipids
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Conjugated fatty acids
  • Docosapentaenoic acid
  • Furan fatty acids
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic disease

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