|Happy dairy, happy tummy. That's maybe not the sexiest, but potentially the most important result of this study.|
As Bérengère Benoit and colleagues point out in their latest paper in the British Journal of Nutrition, "this may be due, at least in part, to the protective mechanisms induced by specific lipids" (Benoit. 2014).
Before we are dealing with implications and conclusions, though, let's briefly take a look at what exactly it was the French researchers did.
As Benoit et al. point out, dairy products derived from the milk of cows fed in pastures are characterized by higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA, the major short-chain omega-3 fatty acid, not alpha-lipoic acid). As a SuppVersity Reader you will know that several studies have shown that these "good fats" have the ability to reduce cardiovascular risk and lower the risk of metabolic defects. Whether the latter can be said of plain dairy, when it is produced by pasture-fed cows and thus high(er) in CLA and ALA, however, remains largely unknown.
In the study at hand, a team of researchers from the Lyon University, INSA-Lyon, INRA, and the INSA-Lyon did thus focus on the specific metabolic effects of pastured compared with standard dairy in a high-fat diet (HFD) context. In that, their focus was on the metabolic and intestinal health effects of the two different types of dairy.
|Table 1: Composition of experimental diets (Benoit. 2014)|
PDC mice, despite having a significantly higher food intake, exhibited lower fat mass, plasma and hepatic triglyceride concentrations, a lower level of inflammation in the adipose tissue than the mice on conventional dairy. Furthermore, the rodents with the pastured dairy in their diet exhibited a higher expression of hepatic PPARα mRNA and adipose tissue uncoupling protein 2 mRNA, suggesting an enhanced oxidative activity of the liver.
As you may remember from previous articles about CLA (specifically "CLA Destroys Body Fat & Increases Endurance! But at Which Costs" | read more), these results may be a direct consequence of the increased amounts of CLA in the pastured dairy diet (PCD) and its metabolic consequences on liver and body fat.
Gut health, again - can pastured dairy render your gut bulletproof?
Moreover, the PDC diet was found to increase the proportions of two strategic cell populations involved in the protective function of the intestinal epithelium, namely Paneth and goblet cells in the small intestine and colon, compared with the SDC diet.
|Figure 1: Relative body composition and liver lipids (expr. in % of control; left) and fatty acid and sterol profiles of the regular and pastured dairy (Benoit. 2014)|
- Benoit, Bérengère, et al. "Pasture< i> v. standard dairy cream in high-fat diet-fed mice: improved metabolic outcomes and stronger intestinal barrier." British Journal of Nutrition 112.04 (2014): 520-535.