Dietary Intake of a-linolenic Acid and Risk of Fatal Ischemic Heart Disease Among Women.

January 1, 1999 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Dietary Intake of a-linolenic Acid and Risk of Fatal Ischemic Heart Disease Among Women.

Year: 1999
Authors: F B Hu, M J Stampfer, J E Manson, E B Rimm, A Wolk, G A Colditz, C H Hennekens, W A Willett.
Publication Name: Am. J. Clin. Nutr.
Publication Details: Volume 69; Page 890.


Numerous experimental studies in laboratory animals and humans have shown that ALA may reduce the risk of arrhythmia. The objective of the present study was to examine the association between dietary intake of ALA and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease (IHD). In a prospective cohort study, the intake of ALA was determined from a 116-item food-frequency questionnaire completed in 1984 by 76,283 women participating in the Nurses Health Study. These women had no previous diagnosed cancer or cardiovascular disease. During a 10-year follow-up period, 232 cases of fatal IHD and 597 cases of nonfatal myocardial infarction were documented. A higher intake of ALA was significantly correlated with a lower relative risk of fatal IHD, following adjustment for age, standard coronary disease risk factors, and dietary intake of LA and other nutrients. For nonfatal myocardial infarction there was only a modest, non-significant trend toward a reduced risk. A significantly reduced risk of fatal IHD was noted in women who consumed an oil and vinegar salad dressing, an important source of ALA, approximately 5-6 times/week reduced risk of fatal IHD compared with those who rarely consumed this food. The risk was furthered lowered in women who also took vitamin E supplements or who had lower intakes of trans fatty acids. The authors speculated that ALA may contribute to reduced risk of fatal IHD through antiarrhythmic effects. Studies in animals have shown that canola oil feeding significantly reduces cardiac arrhythmias as well as mortality due to ventricular fibrillation. ALA, through conversion to EPA, may reduce the risk of fatal IHD through antithrombotic effects. The authors conclude that their data supports the hypothesis that a higher intake of ALA is protective against IDH. They recommend increased consumption of foods (such as flax oil) to possibly reduce the risk of fatal IHD.

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