Association of low oleic acid intake with diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetic patients: a case-control study

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2016 Jun 4;13:40. doi: 10.1186/s12986-016-0099-5. eCollection 2016.


Background: The objective of this study was to describe the intake of macronutrient, especially fatty acids, and explore their possible effect on diabetic retinopathy (DR) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Methods: In this case-control study, we included a total of 146 patients with DR and 148 without DR. The intake of macronutrient was evaluated using a validated food frequency questionnaire. We used logistic regression adjusted for sex, age, diabetes duration, energy intake, educational level, physical activity, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and diabetes treatment, to estimate odds ratio (ORs) of DR.

Results: Patients with DR had significantly lower intake of fibre, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and palmitic and oleic acid. Inverse associations were observed between MUFA and oleic acid intake in DR. Subjects with intermediate and high MUFA intake were less likely to have DR than those with lower MUFA intake, with ORs of 0.46 (95 % CI: 0.22-0.93) and 0.42 (95 % CI: 0.18-0.97), respectively. Similarly, intermediate and high oleic acid intake were associated with reduced DR frequency compared with low oleic acid intake, with OR values of 0.48 (95 % CI: 0.23-0.97) and 0.37 (95 % CI: 0.16-0.85), respectively. These associations were stronger in patients with a longer diabetes duration.

Conclusion: In type 2 diabetes mellitus, MUFA and oleic acid intake were inversely associated with DR.

Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy; Fatty acids; Monounsaturated fatty acids; Oleic acid; Type 2 Diabetes mellitus.