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BMJ. 2018 Oct 17;363:k4067. doi: 10.1136/bmj.k4067.

Serial circulating omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and healthy ageing among older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study: prospective cohort study.

Author information

1
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, 150 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111, USA Heidi.Lai@tufts.edu.
2
Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.
3
Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
4
Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
5
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.
6
Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
7
Benjamin Leon Center for Geriatric Research and Education at Florida International University, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.
8
School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.
9
Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
10
The New York Academy of Medicine, New York City, NY, USA.
11
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, 150 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the longitudinal association between serial biomarker measures of circulating omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n3-PUFA) levels and healthy ageing.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

Four communities in the United States (Cardiovascular Health Study) from 1992 to 2015.

PARTICIPANTS:

2622 adults with a mean (SD) age of 74.4 (4.8) and with successful healthy ageing at baseline in 1992-93.

EXPOSURE:

Cumulative levels of plasma phospholipid n3-PUFAs were measured using gas chromatography in 1992-93, 1998-99, and 2005-06, expressed as percentage of total fatty acids, including α-linolenic acid from plants and eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid from seafoood.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Healthy ageing defined as survival without chronic diseases (ie, cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease, and severe chronic kidney disease), the absence of cognitive and physical dysfunction, or death from other causes not part of the healthy ageing outcome after age 65. Events were centrally adjudicated or determined from medical records and diagnostic tests.

RESULTS:

Higher levels of long chain n3-PUFAs were associated with an 18% lower risk (95% confidence interval 7% to 28%) of unhealthy ageing per interquintile range after multivariable adjustments with time-varying exposure and covariates. Individually, higher eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid (but not docosahexaenoic acid) levels were associated with a lower risk: 15% (6% to 23%) and 16% (6% to 25%), respectively. α-linolenic acid from plants was not noticeably associated with unhealthy ageing (hazard ratio 0.92, 95% confidence interval 0.83 to 1.02).

CONCLUSIONS:

In older adults, a higher cumulative level of serially measured circulating n3-PUFAs from seafood (eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid), eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosapentaenoic acid (but not docosahexaenoic acid from seafood or α-linolenic acid from plants) was associated with a higher likelihood of healthy ageing. These findings support guidelines for increased dietary consumption of n3-PUFAs in older adults.

PMID:
30333104
PMCID:
PMC6191654
DOI:
10.1136/bmj.k4067
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: Dr. Mozaffarian reports grants from NHLBI/NIH, during the conduct of the study; and personal fees from Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3s, DSM, Nutrition Impact, Pollock Communications, Bunge, Indigo Agriculture, Amarin, Acasti Pharma, and America’s Test Kitchen; scientific advisory board, Omada Health, Elysium Health, and DayTwo; and chapter royalties from UpToDate; all outside the submitted work. No other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

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