Higher Fish Intake Associated with Lower Coronary Calcification

July 12, 2010


Intake of Fish and Marine n-3 Fatty Acids in Relation to Coronary Calcification : the Rotterdam Study
Heine-Broring , R.C. et al., Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 91: 1317-1323 , 2010
Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen Univ., Wageningen . Netherlands


Higher intakes of fish and DHA/EPA have been associated with a reduced risk for fatal coronary artery disease in many population-based studies. Since the measurement of coronary calcification by electron-beam computed tomography (EBT) has been found to correlate strongly with the atherosclerotic plaque burden in the coronary arteries, the present study was conducted to determine if a relationship may exist between fish (incl. DHA/EPA intakes) and coronary calcification in a general population.

In this study, 1570 older men and women were studied by relating their dietary intakes of fish (and estimates of DHA/EPA intakes) with their calcium scores (via EBT) as determined approx. 7 years after their dietary assessments. Those who had fish intakes averaging greater that 19 gms/day exhibited a significantly lower (by 13 %) prevalence of mild-moderate coronary calcification as compared to the non-fish eaters. A lower (borderline significance) prevalence of ‘severe’ calcification was also found. DHA/EPA intakes alone did not show a significant relationship to the calcification scores.

Dr. Holub's Comments:

It is noted that a fish intake averaging at least 19 gms/day is a rather modest fish intake amounting to just over one fish serving/week (assuming one fish serving to be 100 gms). Also, The group with the highest intakes (upper third) for DHA plus EPA intakes consumed at least 156 mg (combined) daily. It remains to be studied whether much higher intakes of fish and DHA/EPA than consumed in this population may show more robust relations to coronary calcification than observed herein.

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