Saturated Fatty Acids and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Improve Metabolic Parameters in Ovariectomized Female Mice

Ke Sui, Ali Yasrebi, Natasha Malonza, Zehra H. Jaffri, Samuel E. Fisher, Isaac Seelenfreund, Brandon D. McGuire, Savannah A. Martinez, Avery T. MacDonell, Kevin M. Tveter, Candace R. Longoria, Sue A. Shapses, Sara C. Campbell, Diana E. Roopchand, Troy A. Roepke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In menopausal and postmenopausal women, the risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and gut dysbiosis are elevated by the depletion of 17β-estradiol. A diet that is high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly linoleic acid (LA), and low in saturated fatty acids (SFAs) found in coconut oil and omega-3 PUFAs may worsen symptoms of estrogen deficiency. To investigate this hypothesis, ovariectomized C57BL/6J and transgenic fat-1 mice, which lower endogenous omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, were treated with either a vehicle or estradiol benzoate (EB) and fed a high-fat diet with a high or low PUFA:SFA ratio for ~15 weeks. EB treatment reversed obesity, glucose intolerance, and bone loss in ovariectomized mice. fat-1 mice fed a 1% LA diet experienced reduced weight gain and adiposity, while those fed a 22.5% LA diet exhibited increased energy expenditure and activity in EB-treated ovariectomized mice. Coconut oil SFAs and omega-3 FAs helped protect against glucose intolerance without EB treatment. Improved insulin sensitivity was observed in wild-type and fat-1 mice fed 1% LA diet with EB treatment, while fat-1 mice fed 22.5% LA diet was protected against insulin resistance without EB treatment. The production of short-chain fatty acids by gut microbial microbiota was linked to omega-3 FAs production and improved energy homeostasis. These findings suggest that a balanced dietary fatty acid profile containing SFAs and a lower ratio of omega-6:omega-3 FAs is more effective in alleviating metabolic disorders during E2 deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 17 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology


  • coconut oil
  • energy homeostasis
  • glucose metabolism
  • gut microbiota
  • omega-3 PUFA
  • omega-6 PUFA


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