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Alpha-linolenic acid-diacylglycerol steps up fat burning

People who consumed a couple of grams of alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol for a period of two weeks lost almost half a kilogram of body fat, according to a small study that researchers at the Japanese Kao Corporation published in 2016 in the Journal of Oleo Science. Mix the stuff with allulose, nutritional fibre like inulin and a whole load of protein into snack bars and you'll have a diet product that will make competitors turn pale. Can't miss.

Diacylglyceride versus triglycerides

A fat is made up of a globule [glycerol] with three strands attached to it [the fatty acids]. That's why fats are also called triglycerides. Researchers at the Kao Corporation in Japan have been doing experiments for years with an alternative to fat: globules with not 3, but 2 strands. These are called diacylglycerides. And when the strands are omega-3 fatty acids, these diacylglycerides have interesting properties.

Alpha-linolenic acid-diacylglycerol steps up fat burning

The Japanese got 16 participants to eat a cookie into which, instead of putting fat, they had secretly put 2.5 g alpha-linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol. The exact composition is shown here. On another occasion the same participants were given a normal cookie made using 2.5 g rapeseed oil.

At the end of the supplementation period the researchers gave the participants a meal in which the fat had been labelled [13C] and then measured the amount of fat the participants burned by analysing the exhaled carbon atoms for a period of six hours. This led to the Japanese researchers' discovery that alpha-linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol [ALA-DAG] boosted fat burning.

Alpha-linolenic acid-diacylglycerol steps up fat burning

Alpha-linolenic acid-diacylglycerol steps up fat burning

After consuming alpha-linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol for 14 days, the participants had 400 g less body fat than they did after the period of consuming rapeseed oil.

Alpha-linolenic acid-diacylglycerol steps up fat burning

"Repeated consumption of alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol enhances beta-oxidation in the small intestine [J Nutr. 2002 Oct;132(10):3018-22.] and liver [Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Apr 15;1733(2-3):224-31.] in rodent in rodents," wrote the researchers. "Although the precise mechanism by which alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol consumption stimulates gene expression is not clear, it may be related to the metabolic pathway of alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol."

"In general, the triacylglycerol structure is hydrolyzed by lipase to 2-monoacylglycerol and fatty acids and then resynthesized into triacylglycerol in the intestinal mucosa cells. In contrast, the diacylglycerol structure is hydrolyzed to 1- or 3-monoacylglycerol and fatty acids."

"Because 1-monoacylglycerol is not easily resynthesized to triacylglycerol in the small intestine [Lipids. 2005 Mar;40(3):281-6.] [Lipids. 2003 Jan;38(1):25-30.], the 1-monoacylglycerol and free fatty acids may remain in the intestinal mucosa cells after diacylglycerol consumption [Lipids. 2004 Sep;39(9):827-32.]."

"Omega 3 fatty acids, such as alpha linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid increase the gene expressions including farnesoid X receptor and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor compared to other fatty acids, such as saturated and omega 6 fatty acids [Am J Cardiol. 2006 Aug 21;98(4A):27i-33i.], suggesting that the free alpha linolenic acid derived from alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol activates fat oxidation and suppress fat synthesis, particularly in the small intestine and the liver."

Alpha-linolenic acid-diacylglycerol steps up fat burning

"Thus, diacylglycerol and alpha linolenic acid can synergistically affect fat oxidation. Indeed, Murase et al. suggested that beta-oxidation is higher in rodents fed alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol than in those fed alpha linolenic acid-enriched triacylglycerol. [J Nutr. 2002 Oct;132(10):3018-22.] Additionally, alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol can enhance fat oxidation at 25% of the dose compared to oleic and linolenic acid-riched diacylglycerol [Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Dec;32(12):1841-7.]."

"Treatment with alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol for 14 days enhanced the utilization of dietary fat as energy in healthy humans," the researchers concluded. "This result indicates that alpha linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol consumption has beneficial effects for preventing visceral obesity by upregulating dietary fat metabolism."

J Oleo Sci. 2016 Aug 1;65(8):685-91.

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