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Thorax. 2008 Mar;63(3):208-14. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

The relation between dietary intake of individual fatty acids, FEV1 and respiratory disease in Dutch adults.

Author information

  • 1University of Nottingham, Clinical Science Building, City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK. tricia.mckeever@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A reduced dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids, in association with increased n-6 fatty acid intake, has been proposed as a potential aetiological factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. However, the relative importance of individual fatty acids within the n-3 and n-6 categories on this effect has not been widely investigated. We have studied the relation between individual fatty acid intakes, lung function and self-reported respiratory symptoms and diagnoses in a representative sample of more than 13,000 Dutch adults.

METHODS:

Intake of individual fatty acids was estimated by a food frequency questionnaire and analysed in relation to measures of forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and to questionnaire reported wheeze, asthma and COPD symptoms.

RESULTS:

After adjusting for confounding, we found no protective association between individual n-3 fatty acid intakes and FEV1. Higher intakes of some n-6 fatty acids were associated with lower FEV1, this effect being most marked for c22:4 n-6 docosatetraenoic acid (reduction in FEV1 between the highest and lowest quintile of intake 54.5 ml (95% CI -81.6 to -27.4)). Most of the n-6 fatty acid effects interacted significantly with smoking, their effects being strongest in current smokers. Individual n-3 fatty acid intakes were generally associated with a higher risk of wheeze in the past year, but otherwise there was little or no association between fatty acid intake and wheeze, doctor diagnosed asthma or other respiratory symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS:

A high intake of n-3 fatty acids does not appear to protect against COPD or asthma, but a high intake of several n-6 fatty acids is associated with a significant reduction in FEV1, particularly in smokers. These findings indicate that high dietary intake of n-6 fatty acids, rather than reduced n-3 intake, may have an adverse effect on lung health.

PMID:
17901161
PMCID:
PMC3979330
DOI:
10.1136/thx.2007.090399
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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