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Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences


Rates of adverse cardiovascular events have increased among middle-aged adults. Elevated ceramides have been proposed as a risk factor for cardiovascular events. Diet quality and weight status are inversely associated with several traditional risk factors; however, the relationship to ceramides is less clear. This study aimed to determine associations of adiposity and diet quality with circulating ceramides in middle-aged adults (n = 96). Diet quality was estimated using the Healthy Eating Index 2015 (HEI-2015). Serum ceramide concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. A ceramide risk score was determined based on ceramides C16:0, C18:0, and C24:1 and their ratios to C24:0. Participants who were classified as at ‘moderate risk’ compared to ‘lower-risk’ based on a ceramide risk score had significantly higher body mass index (BMI) values, as well as higher rates of elevated fibrinogen levels, metabolic syndrome, and former smoking status. BMI was positively associated with the ceramide C18:0 (R2 = 0.31, p < 0.0001), the ratio between C18:0/C24:0 ceramides (R2 = 0.30, p < 0.0001), and the ceramide risk score (R2 = 0.11, p < 0.009). Total HEI-2015 scores (R2 = 0.42, p = 0.02), higher intakes of vegetables (R2 = 0.44, p = 0.02) and whole grains (R2 = 0.43, p = 0.03), and lower intakes of saturated fats (R2 = 0.43, p = 0.04) and added sugar (R2 = 0.44, p = 0.01) were associated with lower C22:0 values. These findings suggest that circulating ceramides are more strongly related to adiposity than overall diet quality. Studies are needed to determine if improvements in weight status result in lower ceramides and ceramide risk scores.

Source Citation

Drazba, M. A., Holásková, I., Sahyoun, N. R., & Ventura Marra, M. (2019). Associations of Adiposity and Diet Quality with Serum Ceramides in Middle-Aged Adults with Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(4), 527.


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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