Seaweed Intake and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: The Circulatory Risk in Communities Study (CIRCS)

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2021 Dec 1;28(12):1298-1306. doi: 10.5551/jat.61390. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


Aim: Seaweed contains soluble dietary fibers, potassium, and flavonoids and was recently reported to be inversely associated with the risk of coronary heart disease and mortality from stroke. However, epidemiological evidence on this issue has remained scarce.

Methods: At the baseline survey of four Japanese communities between 1984 and 2000, we enrolled 6,169 men and women aged 40-79 years who had no history of cardiovascular disease. We assessed their seaweed intake using the data from a 24 h dietary recall survey and categorized the intake into four groups (0, 1-5.5, 5.5-15, and ≥ 15 g/day). We used sex-specific Cox proportional hazards models to examine the association between seaweed intake and risk of cardiovascular disease (stroke, stroke subtypes, and coronary heart disease).

Results: During the 130,248 person-year follow-up, 523 cases of cardiovascular disease occurred: 369 cases of stroke and 154 cases of coronary heart disease. Seaweed intake levels were inversely associated with the risk of total stroke and cerebral infarction among men but not among women. Adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors did not change the associations: the hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals; P for trend) for the highest versus lowest categories of seaweed intake were 0.63 (0.42-0.94; 0.01) for total stroke and 0.59 (0.36-0.97; 0.03) for cerebral infarction. No associations were observed between seaweed intake and risks of intraparenchymal hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, or coronary heart disease among men or women.

Conclusions: We found an inverse association between seaweed intake and risk of total stroke, especially that from cerebral infarction, among Japanese men.

Keywords: Cohort study; Epidemiology; Japan; Risk factor; Stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Infarction* / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Infarction* / epidemiology
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Food Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seaweed / chemistry*
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke* / classification
  • Stroke* / diagnosis
  • Stroke* / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Flavonoids