Associations of linoleic acid with markers of glucose metabolism and liver function in South African adults

Kamalita Pertiwi*, Leanne K. Küpers, Johanna M. Geleijnse, Peter L. Zock, Anne J. Wanders, Herculina S. Kruger, Tertia Van Zyl, Iolanthé M. Kruger, Cornelius M. Smuts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The relation between dietary and circulating linoleic acid (18:2 n-6, LA), glucose metabolism and liver function is not yet clear. Associations of dietary and circulating LA with glucose metabolism and liver function markers were investigated. Methods: Cross-sectional analyses in 633 black South Africans (aged > 30 years, 62% female, 51% urban) without type 2 diabetes at baseline of the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study. A cultural-sensitive 145-item food-frequency questionnaire was used to collect dietary data, including LA (percentage of energy; en%). Blood samples were collected to measure circulating LA (% total fatty acids (FA); plasma phospholipids), plasma glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), alanine (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). Associations per 1 standard deviation (SD) and in tertiles were analyzed using multivariable regression. Results: Mean (±SD) dietary and circulating LA was 6.8 (±3.1) en% and 16.0 (±3.5) % total FA, respectively. Dietary and circulating LA were not associated with plasma glucose or HbA1c (β per 1 SD: - 0.005 to 0.010, P > 0.20). Higher dietary LA was generally associated with lower serum liver enzymes levels. One SD higher circulating LA was associated with 22% lower serum GGT (β (95% confidence interval): - 0.25 (- 0.31, - 0.18), P < 0.001), but only ≤9% lower for ALT and AST. Circulating LA and serum GGT associations differed by alcohol use and locality. Conclusion: Dietary and circulating LA were inversely associated with markers of impaired liver function, but not with glucose metabolism. Alcohol use may play a role in the association between LA and liver function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020


  • African
  • Alcohol intake
  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase
  • Glycemia
  • Linoleic acid
  • Liver enzymes
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations of linoleic acid with markers of glucose metabolism and liver function in South African adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this