Ruminants

Ruminants are grazing mammals that have the ability to ferment grass and other forage in the stomach, before digestion, with the help of gut microbes.

Ruminant mammals include domesticated animals, such as cattle, sheep, goat, deer and buffalo as well as wild animals, such as giraffes and antelopes.

In a process called rumination, fermented plant matter is regurgitated and chewed again to further break it down and stimulate digestion.

In the stomach, gut microbes are involved in a process called microbial bio-hydrogenation. In this process, most of the unsaturated fatty acids are converted into saturated and trans fatty acids, all of which are then absorbed into the body. These fats are then found in the meat and milk of these ruminants. Ruminant trans fatty acids are slightly different from the industrially obtained trans fatty acids, due to partial hydrogenation.

Ruminant mammals that feed on grass, instead of grains, produce more of these trans fatty acids. (1)Lopez-Garcia E, Schulze MB, Meigs JB, Manson JE, Rifai N, Stampfer MJ, et al. Consumption of Trans Fatty Acids Is Related to Plasma Biomarkers of Inflammation and Endothelial Dysfunction. J. Nutr. March 1, 2005. vol. 135 no. 3 562-566 . Available here. (2)University of Minnesota. Ruminant Anatomy and Physiology. Available here.

Ruminant trans fats are considered to be safe to consume from the natural sources such as dairy and meat. (read more..)

References   [ + ]

1. Lopez-Garcia E, Schulze MB, Meigs JB, Manson JE, Rifai N, Stampfer MJ, et al. Consumption of Trans Fatty Acids Is Related to Plasma Biomarkers of Inflammation and Endothelial Dysfunction. J. Nutr. March 1, 2005. vol. 135 no. 3 562-566 . Available here.
2. University of Minnesota. Ruminant Anatomy and Physiology. Available here.