Associations of very high intakes of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids with biomarkers of chronic disease risk among Yup'ik Eskimos

Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):777-85. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28820. Epub 2010 Jan 20.

Abstract

Background: Few studies have examined the associations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with biomarkers of chronic disease risk in populations with high intakes.

Objective: We examined the associations of red blood cell (RBC) EPA and DHA, as percentages of total fatty acids, with biomarkers of chronic disease risk across a wide range of EPA and DHA intakes.

Design: In a cross-sectional study of 357 Yup'ik Eskimos, generalized additive models were used to plot covariate-adjusted associations of EPA and DHA with chronic disease biomarkers. Linear regression models were used to test for the statistical significance of these associations.

Results: Means (5th-95th percentiles) for RBC EPA and DHA were 2.8% (0.5-5.9%) and 6.8% (3.3-9.0%), respectively. Associations of EPA and DHA were inverse and linear for triglycerides (beta +/- SE = -0.10 +/- 0.01 and -0.05 +/- 0.01, respectively) and positive and linear for HDL cholesterol (beta +/- SE = 2.0 +/- 0.5 and 0.9 +/- 0.6, respectively) and apolipoprotein A-I (beta +/- SE = 2.6 +/- 0.8 and 1.7 +/- 0.8, respectively). Positive linear associations of DHA with LDL and total cholesterol (beta +/- SE = 7.5 +/- 1.4 and 6.80 +/- 1.57, respectively) were observed; for EPA, these associations were nonlinear and restricted to concentrations approximately <5% of total fatty acids. Associations of EPA and DHA with C-reactive protein were inverse and nonlinear: for EPA, the association appeared stronger at concentrations approximately >3% of total fatty acids; for DHA, it was observed only at concentrations approximately >7% of total fatty acids.

Conclusion: Increasing EPA and DHA intakes to amounts well above those consumed by the general US population may have strong beneficial effects on chronic disease risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inuits*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fats
  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Cholesterol
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid