Trans-palmitoleic acid, a component found in natural dairy fats, may reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In the study, researchers from Harvard University reviewed information for 3736 adults who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study, a 20-year project that contained data for risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Those factors included blood fatty acid levels and and blood glucose and insulin levels measured through stored blood samples from the participants.
They found that those who consumed the highest amount of dairy fat had the highest levels of trans-palmitoleic acid and, in turn, had a significantly lower incidence rate of diabetes. Professor Darius Mozzafarian stated that the reduction was of a significant size. "This represents an almost three-fold difference in risk of developing diabetes among individuals with the highest blood levels of this fatty acid," he said.
The study also linked high-level intake of the acid with reduced insulin resistance, higher levels of good cholesterol, lower levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of triglycerides.
In addition to better quality of life, those who can reduce their odds of developing diabetes will also enjoy lower life insurance rates in the future, since the disease is associated with higher premiums.