Plasma trans-fatty acid concentrations in fasting adults declined from NHANES 1999-2000 to 2009-2010

Hubert W. Vesper, Samuel P. Caudill, Heather C. Kuiper, Quanhe Yang, Namanjeet Ahluwalia, David A. Lacher, James L. Pirkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: The consumption of trans fatty acids (TFAs) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and reducing their consumption is a major public health objective. Food intake studies have provided estimates for TFA concentrations in the US population; however, there is a need for data on TFA blood concentrations in the population. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine plasma TFA concentrations in a nationally representative group of fasted adults in the US population in NHANES samples from 1999-2000 and 2009-2010. Design: Four major TFAs [palmitelaidic acid (C16:1n-7t), trans vaccenic acid (C18:1n-7t), elaidic acid (C18:1n-9t), and linoelaidic acid (C18:2n-6t,9t)] were measured in plasma in 1613 subjects from NHANES 1999-2000 and 2462 subjects from NHANES 2009-2010 by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Geometric means and distribution percentiles were calculated for each TFA and their sum by age, sex, and race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Mexican American), and covariate-adjusted geometric means were computed by using a model that included these demographic and other dietary factors, as well as survey year and any significant interaction terms. Results: These nationally representative data for the adult US population show that TFA concentrations were 54% lower in NHANES 2009-2010 than in NHANES 1999-2000. Covariate-adjusted geometric means for the sum of the 4 TFAs were 81.4 μmol/L (95% CI: 77.3, 85.6 μmol/L) and 37.8 μmol/L (95% CI: 36.4, 39.4 μmol/L) in NHANES 1999-2000 and 2009-2010, respectively. Even with the large decline in TFA concentrations, differences between demographic subgroups were comparable in the 2 surveys. Conclusion: The results indicate an overall reduction in TFA concentrations in the US population and provide a valuable baseline to evaluate the impact of the recent regulation categorizing TFAs as food additives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1069
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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