trans-fats and neurochemistry: major depression, suicides, mood disorders, etc.

<p>Apparently several studies have independently reached the conclusion that trans-fats are linked to depression. Eating</a> Trans Fats Linked to Depression
<a href="http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/food-with-bad-fats-linked-to-depression-study-finds-20110127-1a6vy.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/food-with-bad-fats-linked-to-depression-study-finds-20110127-1a6vy.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

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Spanish researchers who followed 12,059 people over six years, analysing their diets, lifestyles and medical problems found those who ate the most trans fats, which are commonly found in pastries and fast food, had a 48 per cent higher risk of depression than those who did not eat trans fats.

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<p>I find this intriguing because I googled such a link after knowing that</p>

<p>1) trans-fats have been known to substitute for DHA in the body (thereby lowering DHA levels) and in the brain, when mice were fed experimental diets from 2-16 months of age High</a> dietary consumption of trans fatty acids d... [Neuroscience. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI</p>

<p>
[quote]
Very high TFA consumption substantially modified the brain fatty acid profile by increasing mono-unsaturated fatty acids and decreasing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Very high TFA intake induced a shift from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) toward n-6 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-6) without altering the n-3:n-6 PUFA ratio in the cortex of both control and 3xTg-AD mice.

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<p>2) brains examined postmortem from 15 major depressive suicides were found to have significantly depressed DHA levels in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) (Elsevier;%5DElsevier%5B/url%5D">http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(06)01065-1/abstract);)&lt;/a&gt;) and one knows the OFC is involved in reward, expectation and empathy, which are all impacted during a mood disorder.</p>

<p>
[quote]
After correction for multiple comparisons, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA was the only fatty acid that was significantly different (−22%) in the postmortem orbitofrontal cortex of MDD patients relative to normal controls. Deficits in DHA concentrations were greater in female MDD patients (−32%) than in male MDD patients (−16%), and could not be wholly attributed to lifestyle factors or postmortem tissue variables.

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<p>On the flip side:
*Though reduced DHA levels are also associated with Alzheimer's, they don't affect tau and and amyloid-beta protein concentrations.
* 30% trans-fat intake for 10 weeks in fetal or pregnant rats was found to reduce DHA somatically but not in the brain Dietary</a> trans fatty acids affect docosahexaenoic acid concentrations in plasma and liver but... - Abstract - UK PubMed Central</p>

<p>Nevertheless, even if you are very healthy heartwise, this is another reason to be suspicious of trans-fats, particularly if one (or one's children) has any psychological or neurological conditions. Trans-fats as I recall, are difficult to metabolise or excrete, so they can accumulate in the brain. Perhaps they do not have time to significantly accumulate in the rat if only fed for ten weeks to show any impact on brain DHA profiles, but show up in mice when they are fed experimental diets for 14 months.</p>

<p>Trans-fats may well be unhealthy for you for more than one reason, but I would like to point out that consuming them is nothing new. They've been prominent in western diets for more than a century. But they only recently became infamous under the chemical name trans-fats. They were/are more commonly known as shortening. Many folks continue to cook with shortening, unaware that it is high in trans-fats.</p>

<p>Another name sometimes used for shortening is partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil.</p>

<p>Perhaps increased consumption can be correlated with a higher incidence of depression and mood disorders in the modern age.</p>

<p>coureur, Did you hear the NPR piece Who</a> Killed Lard? : Planet Money : NPR Interesting.</p>

<p>OK, I'll bite here (no pun intended). Exactly what are the most common culprits of trans-fats. Am trying to figure out if I'm eating them hidden in foods. </p>

<p>FWIW - I always assumed most of them could be found in the drive-through, fast food restaurants. If I eat there, I get salads, or chili (Wendys).</p>

<p>One common use is in crackers and other snack foods. When used in baked products partially hydrogenated plant oils have a longer shelf life and are cheaper than animal fats. Fast food restaurants often use "shortening" for deep frying though some chains have been moving away from it.</p>

<p>OK... I don't really do crackers or many snack foods. Now if I could just get more health food companies to use Stevia than sugar, I'd be set!</p>

<p>They really need to start a support group for Chobani yogurt and Zone Perfect bars! I could live on both.</p>

<p>Margarine - for years we were told it was better than butter - healthier, better - it isn't.</p>

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<p>I don't have a comprehensive list off the top of my head, but one major offender is baked goods - pie crusts, pastries, some types of cookies. Stuff where liquid oil wouldn't work so solid vegetable oil is needed to hold the dough or batter together through the baking process. </p>

<p>Basically think of all the recipes you've cooked yourself over the years that used shortening. That's a good place to start.</p>

<p>Trans fats:
rancid oils, even the "good" ones like olive oil
processed palm and coconut oils (in raw form these are GOOD)
lard
shortening
margarine</p>

<p>I cook all my pastries with butter rather than margarine or shortening now but do the stores and bakeries?</p>

<p>lard is not a trans-fat. Trans-fat Crisco shortening replaced lard in baked good and fried foods because it was supposed to be healthier. Turns out it isn't. Lard and butter are healthier choices than Crisco or margarine.</p>