(HealthDay News) – Blood levels of free fatty acids are associated with insulin resistance during young adulthood and cardiovascular risk factors in later adulthood, according to a study published online May 13 in Diabetes.

Brigitte I. Frohnert, MD, PhD, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues examined the relationship of serum total free fatty acids to adiposity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular risk factors in 207 individuals at 15 and 22 years of age, as well as their parents.

The researchers found that, while there was no significant association between free fatty acids and insulin resistance at 15 years of age, the association became significant at 22 years of age, and free fatty acids at 15 years of age estimated insulin resistance at 22 years of age. In the parents there was a significant association between free fatty acids and body mass index, percent body fat, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and insulin resistance, although adjusting for body mass index attenuated all associations except insulin resistance. Most associations with parents were stronger at 22 years of age than at 15 years of age.

“This study finds that free fatty acids [are] associated with insulin resistance starting in young adulthood,” Frohnert and colleagues conclude. “The relation between free fatty acids and cardiovascular risk factors does not become significant until later adulthood.”

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