High fish intake rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces cardiovascular disease incidence in healthy adults: The ATTICA cohort study (2002-2022)

Elena Critselis, Thomas Tsiampalis, Evangelia Damigou, Ekavi Georgousopoulou, Fotios Barkas, Christina Chrysohoou, John Skoumas, Christos Pitsavos, Evangelos Liberopoulos, Costas Tsioufis, Petros P. Sfikakis, Demosthenes Panagiotakos

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Abstract

Background: The long-term effects of high fish intake rich in n-3 fatty acids for deterring cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related adverse outcomes in healthy individuals have not been yet elucidated. Purpose: To evaluate the association between total seafood, as well as small fish, intake on 10- and 20-year CVD incidence and mortality in healthy adults. Methods: A prospective cohort study (n = 2,020) was conducted in healthy community dwelling adults in Athens, Greece, selected following age- and sex-based random multistage sampling (mean ± SD age at baseline: 45.2 ± 14.0 years). Seafood (high (>2 servings/week) vs. low (≤2 servings/week) intake), including small fish rich in n-3 fatty acids (high (>1 serving/week) vs. low (≤1 serving/week) intake), consumption was evaluated by semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire at baseline. The occurrence of non-fatal and/or fatal CVD events (ICD-10) was assessed during 10- and 20-year follow-up periods. Results: Only 32.7% and 9.6% of participants had high seafood and small fish intakes, respectively. Participants with high seafood intake had 27% decreased 10-year CVD risk (adj. HR:0.73; 95% CI:0.55-0.98) and 74% lower attributable mortality (adj. HR:0.26; 95% CI:0.11-0.58). Participants with high seafood intake also sustained a 24% lower 20-year risk of CVD mortality (adj. HR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.55-0.98). Moreover, participants with high small fish intake had a lower 10-year CVD risk and 76% decreased risk of 10-year CVD mortality (adj. HR:0.24; 95% CI:0.06-0.99), even among normotensive individuals (adj. HR:0.31; 95% CI:0.13-0.73). When analogous analyses focused on 20-year CVD incidence and mortality, similar but not significant associations were observed (all p-values >0.10). Conclusion: High intake of seafood, and particularly small fish rich in n-3 fatty acids, was associated with a lower risk of 10-year fatal and non-fatal CVD. Thus, public health interventions aimed at enhancing small fish consumption may most effectively deter long-term CVD outcomes, particularly among low risk normotensive individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1158140
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2023

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