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Cardiovascular disease risk factors and n−3 fatty acid status in the adult population of James Bay Cree

Dewailly, Eric, Blanchet, Carole, Gingras, Suzanne, Lemieux, Simone, Holub, Bruce John
American journal of clinical nutrition 2002 v.76 no.1 pp. 85-92
adults, cholesterol, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, fatty acid composition, fish, fish consumption, fish oils, heart, high density lipoprotein, interviews, mortality, omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, protective effect, risk factors, surveys, triacylglycerols, Quebec
Background: Canadian native populations, which traditionally consume large amounts of fish, have lower rates of mortality from heart disease than do Canadian nonnative populations, which have low fish intakes. Fish oils rich in n−3 fatty acids may have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Objectives: The purposes were to examine the profile of plasma phospholipid concentrations of the n−3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) among James Bay Cree and to verify the relation between these concentrations and CVD risk factors. Design: The study population consisted of 917 subjects aged 18-74 y who participated in the 1991 Santé Québec Health Survey. Data were obtained through home interviews and clinic visits. Plasma samples were analyzed for phospholipid fatty acid composition. Results: The mean fish consumption on the day before the survey was 60 g among the adult Cree population. Expressed as a percentage of total fatty acids, relative concentrations of EPA and DHA were 0.65% and 2.80%, respectively. n-3 Fatty acids were higher among coastal residents than among inland residents. A positive association was observed between plasma HDL and n-3 fatty acids. EPA and EPA+DHA were inversely associated with triacylglycerols. Among subjects aged 50-74 y, an inverse association between EPA and EPA:AA and total:HDL cholesterol was observed. Conclusions: n−3 Fatty acids may favorably influence some CVD risk factors. The Cree population must be encouraged to maintain their traditional fish-based diet, which may be one of the factors protecting them against mortality from CVD.