Trans fat damages skin, liver, blood vessels

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Jun 17, 2014 - 21:16
  • Updated : Jul 20, 2014 - 18:28

Korean researchers have collected more evidence linking trans fats to skin and vascular diseases, and even fatty liver, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said Tuesday.

Despite trans fats being blamed for diseases including childhood obesity, there have been few studies on how exactly eating them affects one’s health, scientists from Yeongnam University said.

“The biggest feat of our research is that we managed to prove the correlation between the trans fat and skin, liver embryonic and cardiovascular toxicity,” said Cho Kyung-hyun, a professor of biotechnology at the university. “We hope that our study can be used as a reference for the government in drawing up a guideline on acceptable daily intake.”

To study how trans fats affect the metabolism of an organism, Cho’s team injected elaidic acid ― a type of trans fat ― into the zebra fish embryos. The injection led to an acute embryonic toxicity with low survivability. A consistent intake for 20 weeks resulted in hyperlipidemia, elevation of serum cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity, hepatic inflammation and fatty liver changes.

In addition, the trans fat altered the reconstituted high-density lipoprotein ― which removes wastes within the blood vessels ― ultimately accelerating the buildup of toxins. The study also found that the zebra fish showed symptoms of skin aging and development disorders.

“Many people know trans fats are bad, but this seldom affects their consumption of products containing them. It was important to specify the mechanism of trans fats effects on the body,” the researchers wrote.

Trans fats do not commonly occur in nature and are mostly created in food production to improve taste and storage. Notably found in snacks, fried goods and fast food, consuming large quantities of trans fat is known to lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and a greater risk of heart disease.

By Yoon Min-sik (