Long-chain saturated fatty acids consumption and risk of gallstone disease among men

Chung-Jyi Tsai, Michael F Leitzmann, Walter C Willett, Edward L Giovannucci
Annals of Surgery 2008, 247 (1): 95-103

BACKGROUND: Various saturated fatty acids have different effects on blood lipids and insulin secretion in experiments. The effect of long-term consumption of specific and different classes of saturated fatty acids on the risk of gallstone disease in humans is unknown.

METHODS: We prospectively studied consumption of saturated fatty acids and risk of gallstone disease in a cohort of 44,524 US men from 1986 to 2002. Intake of saturated fatty acids was assessed using a validated semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Newly diagnosed gallstone disease was ascertained biennially.

RESULTS: During 584,679 person-years of follow-up, we documented 2350 incident cases of gallstone disease, of which 1387 cases required cholecystectomy. Compared with men in the lowest quintile of dietary intake of long-chain saturated fats, after adjustment for age and other potential risk factors, the relative risk of gallstone disease for men in the highest quintile was 1.24 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02, 1.50, P for trend = 0.03], and the relative risk of cholecystectomy for men in the highest quintile was 1.41 (CI, 1.09, 1.82, P for trend = 0.008). Consumption of medium-chain saturated fatty acids or short-chain saturated fatty acids was unrelated to the risk.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that a higher consumption of long-chain saturated fatty acids may enhance the risk of gallstone disease in men.

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