Effects of Specific Saturated Fatty Acids

Coagulation The interest in the effects of particular fatty acids on coagulation and fibrinolytic factors has increased since the observation that different saturated fatty acids raise serum lipids and lipoproteins in different ways (see section on cholesterol metabolism). Although results are conflicting, some studies indicate that the most potent cholesterol-raising saturated fatty acids also increase factor VII activity.

Diets rich in lauric plus myristic acids compared with a diet rich in stearic acid also increase concentrations of other vitamin K-dependent coagulation proteins. In addition, this mixture of saturated fatty acids raised F1 + 2 concentrations, indicating increased in vivo turnover of prothrombin to thrombin. This agreed with a study in rabbits where increased F1 + 2 concentrations were associated with increased hepatic synthesis of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors.

Diets rich in certain saturated fatty acids (lauric acid and palmitic acid) and also diets rich in butter-fat have been reported to raise fibrinogen concentrations, but increases were small.

Postprandially, increased factor VIIc concentrations have been demonstrated after consumption of diets rich in fat compared with fat-free meals (Figure 3). The response is stronger when more fat is consumed, but this occurs regardless of whether the fat is high in saturated or unsaturated fatty acids. Only meals with unrealistically high amounts of MCFA have been reported not to change factor VIIc levels in comparison with a meal providing a similar amount of olive oil.

Fibrinolysis Increased PAI-1 activity of a palmitic acid-rich diet has been observed compared with diets enriched with oleic acid, indicating impaired fibrino-lytic capacity of the plasma. However, this was not confirmed by other experiments on the effects of particular saturated fatty acids (including palmitic acid), which did not indicate changes in fibrinolytic capacity of the blood, measured as tPA, PAI-1 activity, or antigen concentrations of tPA and PAI-1.

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