Refined Palm Oil Bad – Unrefined Good?
Low-grade inflammation observed in obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Recent studies revealed that this would be linked to gut-derived endotoxemia during fat digestion in high-fat diets, but nothing is known about the effect of lipid composition. The study was designed to test the impact of oil composition of high-fat diets on endotoxin metabolism and inflammation in mice. C57/Bl6 mice were fed for 8 wk with chow or isocaloric isolipidic diets enriched with oils differing in fatty acid composition: milk fat, palm oil, rapeseed (canola) oil, or sunflower oil. In vitro, adipocytes (3T3-L1) were stimulated or not with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; endotoxin) and incubated with different fatty acids. In mice, the palm group presented the highest level of IL-6 in plasma together with the highest expression in adipose tissue of IL-1β and of LPS-sensing TLR4 and CD14. The higher inflammation in the palm group was correlated with a greater ratio of LPS-binding protein (LBP)/sCD14 in plasma. The rapeseed group resulted in higher sCD14 than the palm group, which was associated with lower inflammation in both plasma and adipose tissue despite higher plasma endotoxemia.
Taken together, our results reveal that the palm oil-based diet resulted in the most active transport of LPS toward tissues via high LBP and low sCD14 and the greatest inflammatory outcomes. In contrast, a rapeseed oil-based diet seemed to result in an endotoxin metabolism driven toward less inflammatory pathways. This shows that dietary fat composition can contribute to modulate the onset of low-grade inflammation through the quality of endotoxin receptors.
Health-e-Solutions comment: The researchers found that depending on which oil the mice received, it could change the levels of endotoxins in serum (impaired gut) and increase markers of inflammation (not so good). Turns out, that compared to a high-fat diet formulated with either milk fat, rapeseed oil, or sunflower oil, one that includes palm oil resulted in higher inflammation in “plasma and adipose tissue” as measured by a number of markers. Interestingly, rapeseed oil resulted in much lower inflammation.
In this study, researchers used refined non-hydrogenated palm oil, not oil from the kernel. That is, Red palm oil without the red. Note that there is a decided difference between refined palm oil and unrefined palm kernel oil. The medium chain saturated fatty acid content of palm kernel oil is much higher while the inflammatory omega 6 content is much lower. If you are concerned about low-grade inflammation, then you might want to think twice about forking out the extra money for the fancy palm oil and might want to check the ingredient labels a little closer as well.
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