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28-07-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Young people should increase dairy intake to improve CVD risk factors


Free abstract

MedWire News: Researchers say that dairy fatty acid intake early in life should be increased, after finding that dairy-specific saturated fats were beneficially associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among adolescents, especially those who were overweight.

Lyn Steffen (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA) and team conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 305 adolescents (mean age 15 years) to determine whether dairy fatty acids (pentadecanoic acid [15:0] and heptadecanoic acid [17:0]) are related to markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, and whether these associations differ by weight status.

The six markers of inflammation and oxidative stress analyzed were circulating adiponectin, C-reactive protein (CRP), the cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and urinary 15-keto-dihydro-PGF2α (15-keto) and 8-iso-PGF2α (F2-iso).

Linear regression analysis revealed that higher levels of dairy fatty acids in serum phospholipids were significantly associated with lower levels of CRP, F2-iso, and 15-keto in overweight (gender and age specific body mass index ≥85th percentile), but not normal weight, adolescents after adjustment for age, gender, race, tanner score, total energy intake, and physical activity.

However, IL-6 was inversely related to dairy fatty acid levels, independent of individuals' weight status.

Further adjustment for the intakes of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A and D, proteins, total flavonoids, and n-3 fatty acids - dietary nutrients that may be related to the beneficial effects of dairy products - did not significantly change these results, note the researchers.

These findings "support our hypothesis that adiposity may play a critical role in the cross-talk between endogenous fatty acids and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress," conclude Steffen and colleagues.

They suggest that individuals should aim to increase their dairy fatty acid intake early in life "to set a dietary pattern consistent with preventing or delaying the development of CVD later in life."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Nikki Withers