NATÖL - Type II diabetes and PUFA-rich vegetable oil.

Grant: European Commission, City of Vienna, Border Cross Programme, Project No.: 51/06

Funding Body: European Commission, City of Vienna, Border Cross Programme, Project No.: 51/06

Duration: 2006-2009

Principal Investigator:

Karl-Heinz Wagner

Project group:

Elisabeth Plasser, PhD student
Elisabeth Müllner, finished as Master student 2008, since 2009 PhD student
Annemarie Zajitschek, Master student, finished 2008
Gabriele Schebesta, Master student, finished 2009
Laura Milojevic, Master student
Angelika Schirgi, Master student

Short description: The global prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and the number of diabetics are increasing in the adult and also adolescent population. According to the International Diabetes Federation 246 million people, which equates to a prevalence of 6.1%, were worldwide suffering from diabetes mellitus in 2007. It is expected that the number of diabetics increases up to 380 million people, or 7.3% by 2025. In Europe 53,2 million people are affected by this disease. 5 – 15% of diabetics are type I whereby the disease occurs principally in childhood or youth. The remaining 80 – 95% is suffering form diabetes type II. In Europe, DM-II is noticeably moving away from being an illness developing in old age, and is increasingly affecting people in the first half of their lifetime. Besides the undisputed factors, lifestyle and increasing life expectancy, this increase could be due to improved and earlier diagnosis, as well as to longer survival of diabetics. The unknown quantity regarding prevalence of DM-II in Europe is high and is estimated at about 60% of the number of diagnosed diabetics.
Compared to non-diabetics, diabetics have a higher mortality. The annual mortality rate of diabetics is twice as high as for the general population, and the life expectancy of diabetics is 5-10 years shorter. Furthermore, diabetes is very often accompanied by secondary diseases, in particular cardiovascular diseases and foot ulcerations.
In diabetics oxidative stress plays a key role in the pathogenesis of vascular complications, and an early step of such damage is the development of an endothelial dysfunction. Hyperglycemia directly induces an endothelial dysfunction through the overproduction of superoxide and consequently peroxynitrite that damages DNA and activates the nuclear enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Numerous studies have shown that oxidative stress is associated with type 2 diabetes, and there is compelling biochemical evidence that suggests the involvement of reactive oxygen species, if only secondary, in the pathogenesis of DM II.
Traditionally, nutrition advice for the mentioned diseases emphasises the reduction of animal fat. The central argument has been the high amount of cholesterol raising saturated fatty acids compared to fats of plant origin. However, foods or plant oils rich in mono- and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids have shown to be neutral or decreasing towards lipid and lipoprotein profiles. In particular fasting concentrations of triacylglycerols, VLDL- and LDL-cholesterol can be significantly decreased.
Epidemiological results indicate an increased risk of diabetes type II for animal fat and total cholesterol and the highest risk reduction for fats/oils of plant origin in general – a higher protection than for polyunsaturated or omega-3 fatty acids, which can be explained by the additional effects of primary and secondary plant ingredients like sterols or vitamins, in particular vitamin E.
This project aims at evaluating the effects of a moderate plant oil intake on the metabolism of type 2 diabetics, thereby mainly focusing on lipid and glucose metabolism.