Polyunsaturated fats associated with artery plaque formation. Saturated fats are not.

The study found that:
(a) Higher levels of dietary polyunsaturated fats (omega-6 and omega-3) were associated with increased plaque in the arteries.
(b) Saturated fat was NOT associated with increased plaque in the arteries.


How long-term dietary intake of essential fatty acids affects the fatty-acid content of aortic plaques is not clear. We compared the fatty-acid composition of aortic plaques with that of post-mortem serum and adipose tissue, in which essential fatty-acid content reflects dietary intake. Positive associations were found between serum and plaque ω6 (r=0·75) and ω3 (r=0·93) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturates (r=0·70), and also between adipose tissue and plaque ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (r=0·89). No associations were found with saturated fatty acids. These findings imply a direct influence of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on aortic plaque formation and suggest that current trends favouring increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be reconsidered.

C. V. Felton PhDa, Corresponding Author Contact Information, D. Crook PhDa, M. J. Davies MRCP, Profb and M. F. Oliver FRCP, Profc

a Wynn Institute for Metabolic Research, 21 Wellington Road, London NW8 9SQ, UK

b British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Pathology Unit, St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, United Kingdon

c National Heart and Lung Institute, London, United Kingdon


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One Response to Polyunsaturated fats associated with artery plaque formation. Saturated fats are not.

  1. S. says:

    What is the composition of the saturated fatty acids in the plaque? From what I’ve seen at other websites that I’ve googled, the plaque contains about 74% polyunsaturated and about 26% saturated, while the latter is not associated with heart disease, although the former is. Even though some saturated fatty acids are in the plaque, how come those acids are not contributing to the heart disease but the polyunsaturated ones are?

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