Wednesday, 12 August 2015

How much fish should you be eating?

SPHPM’s Dr Alice Owen and Associate Professor Dianna Magliano have co-authored a paper on the association between polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) consumption and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in an Australian cohort, with Elizabeth Barr and Jonathan Shaw from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and Kerin O’Dea from the University of South Australia.

Following landmark epidemiological studies which identified saturated fat intake as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it was suggested that substituting polyunsaturated fat into the diet in place of saturated fat could prevent coronary events and death. However more recently there has been debate surrounding the cardiovascular effects of different classes of PUFA (n-6 versus n-3 PUFA), whether n-6 PUFA are cardioprotective, or if the cardioprotective effect is driven largely by n-3 PUFA (such as the long chain n-3 PUFA found in fish).

Despite the majority of the Australian population living along the coastline, Australians have a comparatively low level of fish consumption (for example, Japanese consumption of n-3 PUFA is an order of magnitude higher due to their high fish intake). The aim of this study was to explore the association between PUFA consumption and CVD mortality in an Australian cohort, who have low background levels of n-3 PUFA intake.

The authors sought to explore the association between PUFA consumption and CVD mortality from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) Study cohort. AusDiab enrolled 11,247 Australians ≥25 years of age, who were followed from 1999 till 2000 until 2012 with mortality obtained through death registry linkage.

At baseline, a 121 item food frequency questionnaire was employed to examine usual dietary intake. Cox regression was then used to examine relationships between dietary PUFA intake and cardiovascular mortality. Adjusted for age and sex, those with the highest n-6 PUFA intake had lower risk of total and cardiovascular mortality, but this failed to retain significance after further risk factor adjustment.

The findings from this study contrast recent findings from another Australian cohort which suggested that n-6 PUFA consumption may have an adverse impact on CVD mortality, and suggests that n-6 PUFA have neutral or possibly beneficial effects on all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

You can read the full article here

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