Trans fats linked to impaired memory

Study shows that dietary trans fatty acid consumption strongly predicts memory decline and worsens with increased consumption

Previously linked to aggressive and depressive symptoms, trans fats have recently been linked to poor cognition in younger age adults.

Trans fats are the result of industrial food production and rarely occur naturally. They have been linked to cardiovascular risk, and previous studies have suggested that may be linked to aggressive behaviour (1) and depression (2).

By analyzing data from some thousand adults, investigators from the Department of Medicine, University of California were able to show that dietary trans fatty acid consumption strongly predicted declines in memory, and that memory got worse as dietary trans fat consumption increased (3).

Trans fats may impair memory by a number of mechanisms, pointed out the investigators; they increase oxidative stress, impair blood flow and could reduce cellular energy in areas of the brain involved in memory and cognition such as the hippocampus.

“These findings, in which greater dietary trans fatty acid consumption is linked to worse word memory in adults during years of high productivity,” and ”add to evidence for unfavorable health correlates of trans fat consumption,” remarked the researchers.

Trans fats can be found in many processed foods especially fried foods and baked goods including cakes, pies, biscuits, pizza, cookies, crackers, and margarine. Trans fats may also be labelled as “partially hydrogenated oils.”


Golomb BA, Evans MA, White HL, Dimsdale JE. Trans fat consumption and aggression. PLOS One. 2012; 7(3):e32175.
Sanchez-Villegas A, Verberne L, De Irala J, Ruiz-Canela M, Toledo E, Serra-Majem L, et al. Dietary fat intake and the risk of depression: the SUN Project. PLOS One. 2011; 6(1):e16268.
Golomb BA, Bui AK. A Fat to Forget: Trans Fat Consumption and Memory. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 17;10(6):e0128129. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128129.

Original article care of Benjamin Brown, ND. ©2014 Time for Wellness. Visit:

Posted: Jul 8, 2015