Common Dairy Compound Found to Cut Diabetes Risk

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in collaboration with other institutions have identified a natural compound found in dairy fat that may help cut diabetes risk. The said compound, called trans-palmitoleic acid, is naturally found in milk, yogurt, cheese and butter. This compound is not produced by the body and can only be obtained from diet sources.

Trans-palmitoleic acid may shed light to previous studies that associate a dairy-rich diet with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers examined 3,736 participants that were part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-funded Cardiovascular Health Study, a 20-year observational study that aimed to evaluate risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in older adults. The said study also examined metabolic risk factors such as blood glucose and insulin levels which also included measuring levels of circulating blood fatty acids, of which trans-palmitoleic acid was one. Blood samples from 1992 were measured and with the participants also followed for development of type 2 diabetes.

Study results showed that higher circulating levels of trans-panlmitoleic acid were associated with healthier blood cholesterol levels, inflammatory markers and insulin levels. During the follow up, those who were found to have higher circulating levels of trans-palmitoleic acid also experienced a lower risk of developing diabetes by as much as 60 percent compared to those with the lowest levels of the said compound.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health. “Component in common dairy foods may cut diabetes risk, study suggests.” ScienceDaily 23 December 2010. 12 January 2011 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2010/12/101220200000.htm>


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