Higher DHA/EPA and Fish Intakes Related to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

September 24, 2012


Gender-Specific Associations of Marine n-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Consumption with 10-Year Incidence of Stroke
de Goede , J. et al., PLoS One, 7: in press, 2012
Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands


This population-based study on 22,654 men and women aged 20-65 years in the Netherlands assessed their habitual diet (including fish intakes) by food-frequency questionnaires and their estimated nutrient intakes (including DHA/EPA) were determined by the Dutch food composition databases. The median intake of (DHA plus EPA) across quartiles (bottom 25 % of group to the highest 25 % of the group) of the women ranged from 36 to 225 mg/day with corresponding ranges from 44 to 241 mg/day in the men. During 8-13 years of follow-up (median of 10.5 years), 221 incident strokes occurred with the women having an average age of 47 years when their first stroke occurred while the corresponding age for men was 52 years. Women in the highest group with respect to DHA/EPA intakes had a markedly lower risk of total strokes (lower by 52 %) than those with the lowest intakes while the overall stroke risk for the highest DHA/EPA consumers amongst the men was lower by 13 % (but did not reach statistical significance). Higher fish intakes in women were also associated with a significantly lower stroke risk with the better protection being associated with the equivalent of a greater intake of approximately one fish serving/week.

Dr. Holub's Comments:

Direct assessments of DHA/EPA intakes per day from Canadian women in published research from our laboratory at the University of Guelph (J. Nutr., 135: 206-211 (2005)) indicated average intakes per person to be 117 mg/day which are slightly under reports for North American women based on indirect estimates. Thus, a doubling of intakes would be needed to reach the intakes for women from the Dutch study who were in the top group with respect to DHA/EPA intakes and the lower risk for stroke.

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