Background and aims: Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), especially the n3-series, may protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD), but recent randomized studies have failed to demonstrate these benefits. One of the prevailing hypotheses is that PUFA intake may not confer benefits beyond those provided by statins, but studies comparing statin users to non-users with regard to effects of PUFA are lacking.
Methods and results: Black and white men and women (n = 69,559) in the Southern Community Cohort Study were studied. Cox regression models adjusting for age, sex, race, BMI, recruitment site, education, income, smoking, diabetes, and dietary variables were used.
Results: At baseline the mean ± SD age was 52 ± 9 years, 60% of participants were women, 54% had hypertension and 16% used statins. We observed modest inverse associations between n3-PUFA and n6-PUFA intake with mortality among non-statin users but not among statin users. In adjusted analyses, the HRs (95% CIs) for all-cause mortality (6,396 deaths over a median of 6.4 years) comparing the highest to the lowest quintile were 0.90 (0.82-1.00) for n3-PUFA and 0.80 (0.70-0.92) for n6-PUFA among non-statin users, whereas they were 1.06 (0.87-1.28) and 0.96 (0.78-1.19) for n3-PUFA and n6-PUFA, respectively, among statin users.
Conclusions: Our results suggest potential benefits of PUFA consumption on mortality which are only apparent in the absence of statin therapy. It seems prudent to consider the potential benefit of PUFA consumption in the primary prevention of CVD among patients who are not candidates for statin therapy but are at increased risk for CVD and mortality.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Fish; Hypertension; Mortality; PUFA; Prospective.
Copyright © 2015 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. All rights reserved.