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Arctic Med Res. 1994 Jan;53(1):4-17.

Fatty acids and antioxidants in the Inuit diet. Their role in ischemic heart disease (IHD) and possible interactions with other dietary factors. A review.

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Centre of Arctic Environmental Medicine, Institute of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


The recent literature on the role of fatty acids and antioxidants as protective factors in ischemic heart disease (IHD) has been reviewed. Serum cholesterol, especially LDL-cholesterol, is regarded as an index of risk for IHD. Epidemiological studies have connected a high dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids with a low occurrence of IHD. It is believed that this effect is brought about by a modification of the eicosanoid synthesis and a lowering of the cholesterol level. Intervention studies have not demonstrated that n-3 acids can lower the level whereas monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) have been shown to have such an effect although they were previously believed to be neutral. The epidemiological observations probably reflect the combined effect of both n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and MUFAs. Recently, oxidized LDL has been suggested to be involved in the earliest lesion of atherogenesis. This hypothesis suggest that the antioxidant balance is an important factor for IHD. As the traditional Greenlandic diet is rich in n-3 PUFAs, MUFAs and antioxidants (selenium), epidemiological studies in Greenland could shed important light on the role of individual dietary components and their interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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