Marine n-3 PUFAs do not affect incident PAD risk

16 Oct 2021
Regular consumption of oily fish such as salmon is sufficient for a regular healthy person.
Regular consumption of oily fish such as salmon is sufficient for a regular healthy person.

Higher intake of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) exerts no significant protective effect against incident peripheral artery disease (PAD), a recent study has found.

Using data from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort, the researchers assessed n-3 PUFA intake patterns of 55,248 participants (mean age 56.1 years, 47.7 percent men). Linkage with the Danish National Patient Register was used to identify the primary outcome of incident PAD (n=950; mean age 58.6 years, 62.1 percent men) diagnosed over a median follow-up of 13.6 years.

Participants had a median energy-adjusted intake of 0.17, 0.41, and 0.58 g/day for EPA, DHA, and EPA plus DHA, respectively. Multivariate Cox regression models adjusted for baseline demographic factors and established PAD risk factors, such as body mass index and physical activity, showed no association between EPA, DHA, and EPA+DHA intake with PAD risk.

For instance, the highest vs lowest quintile of EPA intake yielded no significant protective or aggravating effect on incident PAD risk (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.21, 95 percent CI, 0.98–1.50). The same was true for DHA (HR, 1.23, 95 percent CI, 0.99–1.52) and EPA+DHA (HR, 1.24, 95 percent CI, 1.00–1.54).

Complete adjustment for potential intermediate confounders including hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, and diabetes mellitus only further weakened the association between marine n-3 PUFAs and incident PAD risk.

“The exposures of interest in this study should be interpreted as indicators of an underlying dietary pattern and not only as markers of fish intake,” the researchers said.

“In addition, it is important to underline that fish and seafood besides marine n-3 PUFAs contain vitamin D, specific proteins, selenium, and other minerals which might reduce atherosclerosis but also potential detrimental components such as mercury and pesticides which on the contrary might increase atherothrombosis,” they added.

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