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Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is a protein found in the blood plasma which facilitates the attachment of lipids to lipoproteins, and is encoded for by the CETP gene.

CETP transports cholesteryl esters and triglycerides between the various types of lipoproteins. It collects triglycerides from very-low-density (VLDL) or low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and exchanges them for cholesteryl esters from high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and vice versa 1.

The role of these various lipoproteins in disease is under considerable debate and is discussed in the following post, which also gives a good understanding of their various interactions.


Science Grade
Heart Health
rsID Number Major Allele Minor Allele Minor Allele Frequency (%) Major Amino Acid Minor Amino Acid
rs2303790 a g 0.6 Asp Gly

Risk Description

Both the ‘A’ and ‘G’ alleles of A1376G in the CETP gene can be thought of as risk alleles. The very rare ‘G’ allele was associated with decreased CETP activity which increased serum HDL levels and also increased the risk of coronary heart disease 2, importantly though this study was performed in a Japanese population so it is not clear if this effect is more widely applicable.

However, the ‘G’ allele may demonstrate a protective benefit against elaidic acid, the major component of trans fats, which is strongly implicated in heart disease 3. Elaidic acid has been shown to increase the activity of CETP, which then somewhat confusingly lowers HDL cholesterol levels 4.

Nutritional Contraindications:*

Ingredient Active Ingredient Effect
Trans fats Elaidic acid

Elaidic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid, and is also an important trans fat found in hydrogenated vegetable oils which are associated with elevated cardiac risk 3.

Those carrying the common ‘A’ allele may be more susceptible to the effects of elaidic acid as they feature normal CETP activity, which is increased in its presence. However, the mechanisms are poorly understood and conflict with activities of the ‘G’ allele.

However, trans fats are widely regarded as being of high risk for the development of heart disease, and there are few if any described benefits, therefore omitting them from the diet is strongly recommended for all individuals.

Discuss this information with your doctor before taking any course of action.


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