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Lipids and cardiovascular/metabolic health

Association of serum n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with C-reactive protein in men

Abstract

Background/Objectives:

N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been associated with reduced inflammation. We tested the hypothesis that high serum concentrations of the n-3 PUFAs are associated with lower serum C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations in healthy middle-aged Finnish men. We also examined whether exposure to mercury, an environmental contaminant in fish, which is also a major source of long-chain n-3 PUFA, was associated with CRP.

Subjects/Methods:

Data from the prospective, population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study were analyzed cross-sectionally to determine the associations between serum n-3 PUFAs, hair mercury and serum CRP in 1395 healthy men, aged 42–60 years. Linear regression analyses were performed to analyze the associations.

Results:

In the multivariate models, the mean serum CRP in quartiles of serum total n-3 PUFA concentration was 1.23, 1.27, 1.18 and 1.08 mg/l, P for trend=0.01. Statistically significant inverse associations were also observed with the total serum long-chain n-3 PUFA concentration and with the individual long-chain n-3 PUFAs docosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, but not with eicosapentaenoic acid or with the intermediate-chain n-3 PUFA alpha-linolenic acid. Hair methylmercury content was not associated with serum CRP levels and it did not modify the associations between serum n-3 PUFAs and CRP either.

Conclusions:

Serum n-3 PUFAs and especially the long-chain n-3 PUFA concentration, a marker of fish or fish oil consumption, were inversely associated with serum CRP in men. Exposure to mercury was not associated with serum CRP.

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Correspondence to J K Virtanen.

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Reinders, I., Virtanen, J., Brouwer, I. et al. Association of serum n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with C-reactive protein in men. Eur J Clin Nutr 66, 736–741 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.195

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.195

Keywords

  • cardiovascular diseases
  • C-reactive protein
  • inflammation
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • prospective study
  • mercury

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