Although there is general agreement that saturated fatty acids elevate plasma cholesterol concentrations, the relative effects of individual fatty acids on cholesterol and bile acid metabolism are less clear. In this study, cholesterol and bile acid responses to diets enriched in different saturated fatty acids were investigated in hamsters. The six diets examined were as follows: 5% fat (g/100 g) enriched in palmitic acid (16:0) with no cholesterol, 5% fat 16:0-enriched, 0.05% cholesterol (wt/wt), and four diets containing 0.05% cholesterol and 15% fat with each diet enriched in lauric (12:0), myristic (14:0), palmitic (16:0), or stearic acid (18:0). Total plasma cholesterol concentration was significantly greater in hamsters fed the 14:0-enriched diet relative to those fed the 18:0-enriched diet (P < 0.05). Both plasma and liver cholesterol concentrations of hamsters fed 18:0 did not differ from those of the group fed no dietary cholesterol. In all instances, differences in total plasma cholesterol were accounted for within the HDL fraction; no significant treatment differences in VLDL or LDL cholesterol were found. Total daily fecal bile acid excretion was higher in hamsters fed the 15% fat 16:0 diet compared with those fed no dietary cholesterol (P < 0.05), but not significantly different from other treatment groups. There was greater deoxycholic acid excretion (P < 0.05) from hamsters fed the 14:0 and 16:0 diets compared with those fed the 18:0-enriched diet. Small intestinal + gallbladder bile acids, an index of pool size, did not differ significantly among the groups. The observed relative hypocholesterolemic effect of stearic acid was not mediated by increased bile acid excretion.
- Bile acids
- Saturated fatty acids