Serum n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of death: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study
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CitationVirtanen, Jyrki K. Wu, Jason HY. Voutilainen, Sari. Mursu, Jaakko. Tuomainen, Tomi-Pekka. (2018). Serum n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of death: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, 107 (3) , 427-435. 10.1093/ajcn/nqx063.
The cardioprotective properties of linoleic acid (LA), a major n–6 (ω-6) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), have been recognized, but less is known about its associations with other causes of death. Relatively little is also known about how the minor n–6 PUFAs—γ-linolenic acid (GLA), dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA), and arachidonic acid (AA)—relate to mortality risk.
We investigated the associations of serum n–6 PUFAs, an objective biomarker of exposure, with risk of death in middle-aged and older men and whether disease history modifies the associations.
We included 2480 men from the prospective Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, aged 42–60 y at baseline in 1984–1989. The stratified analyses by baseline disease status included 1019 men with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, or diabetes and 1461 men without a history of disease.
During the mean follow-up of 22.4 y, 1143 deaths due to disease occurred. Of these, 575 were CVD deaths, 317 were cancer deaths, and 251 were other-cause deaths. A higher serum LA concentration was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause (multivariable-adjusted HR for the highest compared with the lowest quintile: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.46, 0.71; P-trend < 0.001) and with deaths due to CVD (extreme-quintile HR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.40, 0.74; P-trend < 0.001) and non-CVD or noncancer causes (HR: 0.48; 95% CI: 0.30, 0.76; P-trend = 0.001). Serum AA had similar, although weaker, inverse associations. Serum GLA and DGLA were not associated with risk of death, and none of the fatty acids were associated with cancer mortality. The results were generally similar among those with or without a history of major chronic disease (P-interaction > 0.13).
Our findings showed an inverse association of a higher biomarker of LA intake with total and CVD mortality and little concern for risk, thus supporting the current dietary recommendations to increase LA intake for CVD prevention. The finding of an inverse association of serum AA with the risk of death needs replication in other populations.