Darwin, I cannot give you any current research evidence from the literature showing whether trans fat damage to the body is permament or not. We do understand some of the biochemical pathways negatively impacted by trans fats, and we know that several mortalities are impacted by trans fats, but we do not know if the elimination of trans fats half-way through life (for example) eliminates the ill effects of trans fat intake during the first half of life. My hunch is that trans fat intake is not completely 100% recoverable but that much of the damage caused by trans fat is recoverable. I say that much of the damage is reversable because there is a cummulative effect, meaning that continuing to eat something that is bad for you gets cummulatively worse with time. I say that the damage is probably not completely reversable because even if a person's body and cells are as healthy as possible later in life, if that person was not healthy earlier in life there was likely an effect on telomerase activity and DNA damage earlier in life, which will permanently impact their lifespan. Telomerase shortens DNA so that, as one gets older, one or more vital proteins that are encoded in one's DNA are eventually not produced at all or in sufficient quantities (one of the theories of natural mortality due to old age). Free radicals and other toxins in the body that attack the DNA can cause cell death or, worse, result in mutations of the DNA resulting in the cell living on but with altered signaling processes leading to cancer years after the initial biochemical insult (another theoretical basis of mortality due to old age, since it is impossible to eliminate all attack on one's DNA so there is a cumulative effect as one ages). Trans fats are not free radicals and have not been shown to cause DNA damage, but the cell signaling processes affected by trans fats are involved with strong feed-back loops that overlap with inflammatory and metabolic signaling within cells that have shown to impact both telomerase activity and DNA damage. The evidence is circumstantial but persuasive.
Clyde, It *would* be interesting to hear your thoughts on what Erica asked... although it seems irreparable, since cell membranes in your entire body are affected by it. Maybe the best course of action is to simply shrug it off as a loss and continue to focus on healthy fat intake? Darwin