Fatty Acid from Dairy May Slash Diabetes Risk

December 22, 2010

High intake of trans-palmitoleic acid and its relationship to diabetes incidence.

A fatty acid found in dairy products may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Trans-palmitoleic acid is considered a good dietary source for palmitoleic acid, which is normally produced inside of the body. It is this palmitoleic acid that makes the dairy derivative a subject of focus.

Using a cohort of 3736 subjects from the Cardiovascular Health Study, researchers from several U.S. universities assessed trans-palmitoleic acid levels in subjects over a 15-year span from 1992 to 2006.

Subjects with the highest intake of trans-palmitoleic acid were identified as having a 60% reduced risk of diabetes during the study, compared to subjects with the lowest intake. Other beneficial markers for higher intake included healthier levels of insulin and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (or “good” cholesterol).

“The magnitude of this association is striking,” said lead author Dariush Mozaffarian, MD according to BBC News. “This represents an almost three-fold difference in risk of developing diabetes among individuals with the highest blood levels of this fatty acid.”

The study, which was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, is a good indication of the benefits that may be had from healthy intake of dairy.