Researchers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine found that trans fats may also be linked to memory decline because of the pro-inflammatory processes they trigger in the human body.
During their research, scientists surveyed 645 healthy American men on trans fat consumption and requested that they take part in a simple memory test. The test’s goal was to remember as many random words from a series of 104 they could.
Test results showed that participants who reported eating large amounts of trans fats in their daily diet had a reduced ability of recalling words. While the average score was 86 of 104 words, scientists found that every extra gram of trans fats per day was equal to 0.76 forgotten words.
Researchers said that test subjects who had a high daily intake of trans fats failed to recall between 12 to 21 words during the test. The team deemed the finding “sizeable,” but acknowledged that they didn’t find a causal relationship.
Scientists explained that trans fats negatively affect memory mainly because of their habit of promoting inflammatory processes within the human body. Chocolate, on the other hand, boosts memory because it contains antioxidants that rein inflammatory processes.
Past studies had shown that trans fats may also raise cholesterol levels, alter hormone production, deprive the body of valuable nutrients, and boost risk of heart disease and stroke.
The main source of trans fats are partially hydrogenated oils the food industry uses to provide consistency and longer shelf life to their products. Early this week, the FDA told food producers to remove partially hydrogenated oils from their products in three years’ time.
The new research was published Wednesday in the online journal PLOS One.
“This study does provide ‘food for thought’ about potential adverse effects of dietary trans fatty acids on cognitive [mental] function,”
noted Dr. Marc Gordon, from Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, who was not involved in the study.
Dr. Gordon underlined the lack of a cause-and-effect link between trans fats and memory decline, but deemed the discovery “a potential association.”
Study authors also revealed that trans fats may also alter the production of Omega 3 fatty acids which helps the human brain to work at its full potential.
Plus, the nasty industrial oils may also reduce serotonin levels, a researcher said. Serotonin is a hormone that also plays a major role in brain function, which may also explain the link between trans fats and memory decline.
Image Source: Ars Technica