Furan fatty acids – Beneficial or harmful to health?

Long Xu, Andrew J. Sinclair, Muniba Faiza, Daoming Li, Xianlin Han, Huiyong Yin, Yonghua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Furan fatty acids are found in plants, algae, and fish, and reported to have some positive health benefits, including anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and inhibition of non-enzymatic lipid peroxidation. A major metabolite of furan fatty acids, 3-carboxy-4-methyl-5-propyl-2-furanpropanoic acid (CMPF), has been reported to be increased in patients who progress from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, although CMPF is not necessarily associated with impaired glucose metabolism. Other studies report that CMPF levels are lower in subjects with diabetes than control subjects. Plasma CMPF levels increase in subjects who consume fish or fish oil, and in patients with renal failure. It is not known where furan fatty acids are converted to CMPF and it is speculated that this might be a result of microbiome activity. The plasma levels reported for CMPF in healthy, diabetic and patients with renal disease vary by factors of more than 100-fold within each of these three groups, so measurement error appears to be limiting the ability to interpret studies. This review explores these controversies and raises questions about whether CMPF is a marker for healthy diets or indeed associated with diabetes and renal health. The review concludes that, on balance, furan fatty acids are beneficial for health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-137
Number of pages19
JournalProgress in Lipid Research
Volume68
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

Keywords

  • 3-carboxy-4-methyl-5-propyl-2-furanpropanoic acid
  • Furan fatty acids
  • Metabolism
  • Renal failure
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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