Dietary alpha-linolenic acid is associated with reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but increased prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis

I.A. Brouwer, M.B. Katan, P.L. Zock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

193 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of this meta-analysis was to estimate quantitatively the associations between intake of a-linolenic acid [ALA, the (n-3) fatty acid in vegetable oils], mortality from heart disease, and the occurrence of prostate cancer in observational studies. We identified 5 prospective cohort studies that reported intake of ALA and mortality from heart disease. We also reviewed data from 3 clinical trials on ALA intake and heart disease. In addition, we identified 9 cohort and case-control studies that reported on the association between ALA intake or blood levels and incidence or prevalence of prostate cancer. We combined risk estimates across studies using a random-effects model. High ALA intake was associated with reduced risk of fatal heart disease in prospective cohort studies (combined relative risk 0.79, 95% CI 0.60-1.04). Three open-label trials also indicated that ALA may protect against heart disease. However, epidemiologic studies also showed an increased risk of prostate cancer in men with a high intake or blood level of ALA (combined relative risk 1.70; 95% CI 1.12-2.58). This meta-analysis shows that consumption of ALA might reduce heart disease mortality. However, the association between high intake of ALA and prostate cancer is of concern and warrants further study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-922
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Volume134
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

Keywords

  • sudden cardiac death
  • fatty-acids
  • myocardial-infarction
  • fish consumption
  • artery disease
  • united-states
  • trial
  • cohort
  • men
  • prevention

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