Coconut oil, which is rich in medium-chain saturated fatty acids, is the principal cooking medium of the people of Kerala, India. Replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat is effective in reducing serum cholesterol levels. However, the effect of substituting coconut oil with sunflower oil on the fatty acid composition of plaque has not been thoroughly investigated. We therefore evaluated and compared the fatty acid composition of plasma and plaque among subjects consuming coconut oil or sunflower oil as the cooking medium. Endarterectomy samples and plasma samples were obtained from subjects who underwent coronary artery bypass grafts (n = 71). The subjects were grouped based on the type of oil they were using as their cooking medium (coconut oil or sunflower oil). The fatty acid composition in the plaques and the plasma was determined by HPLC and the data were analyzed statistically. Sunflower oil consumers had elevated concentrations of linoleic acid (p = 0.001) in plasma, while coconut oil users had higher myristic acid levels (p = 0.011) in plasma. Medium-chain fatty acids did not differ significantly between the two groups in the plasma. Medium-chain fatty acids were detected in the plaques in both groups of subjects. In contrast to previous reports, long-chain saturated fatty acids dominated the lipid content of plaque in this population, and the fatty acid composition of plaque was not significantly different between the two groups. No correlation between fatty acids of plasma and plaque was observed in either group. A change in cooking medium, although it altered the plasma fatty acid composition, was not reflected in the plaque composition.
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S. Palazhy, Kamath, P., Rajesh, P. C., Vaidyanathan, K., Nair, S. K., and Dr. Damodaran Vasudevan, “Composition of plasma and atheromatous plaque among coronary artery disease subjects consuming coconut oil or sunflower oil as the cooking medium.”, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 31, pp. 392-396, 2012.