Is fatty acid intake a predictor of arterial stiffness and blood pressure in men? Evidence from the Caerphilly Prospective Study

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Nov;23(11):1079-85. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.12.002. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


Background and aims: Arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and all-cause mortality and may be differentially affected by dietary fatty acid (FA) intake. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between FA consumption and arterial stiffness and blood pressure in a community-based population.

Methods and results: The Caerphilly Prospective Study recruited 2398 men, aged 45-59 years, who were followed up at 5-year intervals for a mean of 17.8-years (n 787). A semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire estimated intakes of total, saturated, mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (SFA, MUFA, PUFA). Multiple regression models investigated associations between intakes of FA at baseline with aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), augmentation index (AIx), systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP) and pulse pressure after a 17.8-year follow-up--as well as cross-sectional relationships with metabolic markers. After adjustment, higher SFA consumption at baseline was associated with higher SBP (P = 0.043) and DBP (P = 0.002) and after a 17.8-year follow-up was associated with a 0.51 m/s higher aPWV (P = 0.006). After adjustment, higher PUFA consumption at baseline was associated with lower SBP (P = 0.022) and DBP (P = 0.036) and after a 17.8-year follow-up was associated with a 0.63 m/s lower aPWV (P = 0.007).

Conclusion: This study suggests that consumption of SFA and PUFA have opposing effects on arterial stiffness and blood pressure. Importantly, this study suggests that consumption of FA is an important risk factor for arterial stiffness and CVD.

Keywords: AIx; Arterial stiffness; Blood pressure; CVD; Cardiovascular disease; DBP; Fatty acids; HDL; LDL; MUFA; PUFA; Pulse wave velocity; SBP; SFA; aPWV; aortic pulse wave velocity; augmentation index; cardiovascular disease; diastolic blood pressure; high-density lipoprotein; low-density lipoprotein; mono-unsaturated fatty acids; poly-unsaturated fatty acids; saturated fatty acids; systolic blood pressure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / immunology
  • Aorta / physiopathology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / immunology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lost to Follow-Up
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness*
  • Wales / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Inflammation Mediators