Dietary alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, and n–3 long-chain PUFA and risk of ischemic heart disease

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 08/29/2011

This study suggests that there is no association between alpha–linolenic acid (ALA) intake and risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD), but a high intake of n–3 (omega–3) long–chain (LC)–PUFA had a significant cardioprotective effect in women.


  • This was a prospective cohort study of 3277 healthy Danish women and men free of known IHD.
  • 471 cases of IHD were observed during a median follow–up period of 23.3 y.


  • Higher intake of ALA was not significantly associated with decreased risk of IHD among women or men.
  • Although the HR of IHD was stepwise decreased with increasing ALA intake in men [0.84 (95% CI: 0.62, 1.14) in the medium compared with the lowest tertile (reference) and 0.83 (95% CI: 0.56, 1.24) in the highest compared with the lowest tertile], this change was far from significant (P–trend: 0.39).
  • No evidence of effect modification by n-3 LC–PUFA or LA was observed.
  • High n–3 LC–PUFA intake, in comparison with low intake, was inversely associated with risk of IHD; this trend was significant in women (P = 0.04; HR: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.40, 0.97) but not in men (P = 0.15; HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.51, 1.06).
  • No associations were observed between intake of LA and risk of IHD.

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