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Sorting out fatty acids and stroke in postmenopausal women

Individual serum trans, saturated, and monounsaturated fatty acids are positively associated with particular ischaemic stroke subtypes, whereas individual n3 and n6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are inversely associated, according to a study1 published recently in Stroke.

Authors aiming to examine the associations between serum fatty acid concentrations and incidence of ischaemic stroke and its subtypes studied the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study cohort of postmenopausal US women aged 50 to 79 years. Between 1993 and 2003, incident cases of ischaemic stroke were matched 1:1 to controls on age, race, and length of follow-up (964 matched pairs). Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and 99.9% confidence intervals (CI) for ischaemic stroke and its subtypes.

The multivariable-adjusted odds ratios and 99.9% CI of ischaemic stroke associated with a 1-SD increment in serum fatty acid concentration were 1.38 (99.9% CI, 1.05–1.83) for linoelaidic acid (18:2tt, SD=0.04%), 1.27 (99.9% CI, 1.06–1.51) for palmitic acid (16:0, SD=2.74%), 1.20 (99.9% CI, 1.01–1.43) for oleic acid (18:1n9, SD=2.32%), 0.72 (99.9% CI, 0.59–0.87) for docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n3, SD=0.18%), 0.72 (99.9% CI, 0.59–0.87) for docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n3, SD=0.91%), and 0.81 (99.9% CI, 0.67–0.98) for arachidonic facid (20:4n6, SD=2.02%). These associations were generally consistent for atherothrombotic and lacunar stroke but not cardioembolic stroke.

Screen shot 2013-08-30 at 14.15.48

Dr Ka He (Indiana University, USA)

Speaking to BJC Arrhythmia Watch, co-author Dr Ka He (Indiana University, USA) said: “Although findings from our study suggest that monounsaturated fatty acids are positively associated with particular ischaemic stroke subtypes, this does not indicate that olive oil may be associated with an increased risk of stroke. Our study focused on individual fatty acids, but olive oil is composed mainly of the mixed triglyceride esters of oleic acid and other fatty acids, along with traces of squalene and sterols. The overall health impact of olive oil should reflect the synergistic effects of multiple constituents.”

References

1. Yaemsiri S, Sen S, Tinker LF, et al. Serum fatty acids and incidence of ischemic stroke among postmenopausal women. Stroke 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/​STROKEAHA.111.000834

Published on: August 30, 2013

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