A diet enriched with mackerel (Scomber scombrus)-derived products improves the endothelial function in a senior population (Prevención de las Enfermedades Cardiovasculares: Estudio Santoña--PECES project)

Eur J Clin Invest. 2009 Mar;39(3):165-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2008.02072.x.


Background: Regular consumption of fish reduces cardiovascular risks. Here, we investigate if the consumption of products with mackerel (Scomber scombrus) with 8.82 g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content per 100 g of product improves parameters of endothelial function in a controlled population.

Materials and methods: Subjects maintained a 12-week diet with products with mackerel. The population consisted of 58 senior subjects (12 withdrawals, 25 women), aged 82.08 +/- 8.13 years (Group A). Twenty-three senior subjects (13 women) on a regular diet were used as the control group (Group B). Subjects of Group A received 57 portions throughout 12 weeks (four to five portions a week of products with a mean EPA + DHA content of 2.5 g a day). A continuous follow-up and a final evaluation were performed to determine the level of consumption. Plasma samples were stored at -70 degrees C for a biochemical study. Endothelial function was analysed by reactive hyperemia with a mercury strain gauge plethysmography with measurement of blood flow in the forearm, both baseline and at the end of the 12-week diet.

Results: Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation significantly increased in Group A subjects (P < 0.001). No changes were found in Group B. The subgroup analyses showed that improvements were produced in Group A subjects without cardiovascular disease (P < 0.001). Nitrites/nitrates and von Willebrand factor plasma concentrations were higher in participants after the 12-week diet.

Conclusions: The consumption of mackerel meat products improves endothelium-dependent, flow-mediated vasodilatation in a senior population. This finding might explain some of the cardioprotective effects of fish consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perciformes
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid