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Diet components – fact and fiction in stroke risk

Available epidemiologic evidence indicates that diets high in magnesium and potassium may play a role in the prevention of stroke, whereas a high sodium intake is an adverse risk factor, according to a study published recently in Current Opinion in Lipidology.1

The study reviews current epidemiologic evidence regarding the associations of dietary fat and other nutrients with risk of stroke. Recent epidemiologic studies showed no association of total fat intake or absolute intakes of saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fat with risk of stroke. Data on long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in relation to stroke risk are inconclusive, but may favour fewer strokes in women, it was found.

Insufficient evidence exists for trans fatty acids, other fatty acids, and dietary cholesterol intake, the author said. Present evidence indicates that high dietary magnesium and potassium intakes may lower the risk of stroke, whereas a high sodium intake and a low dietary vitamin D intake likely increase stroke risk.

Calcium does not prevent stroke in populations with moderate-to-high calcium intakes but might play a role in populations with low calcium intakes, the author found. Supplementation with single vitamins likely has no protective effect on stroke in well-nourished populations, they concluded.


1. Larsson SC. Dietary fats and other nutrients on stroke. Curr Opin in Lipidol 2013;24:41–8.

Published on: February 28, 2013

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