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High seafood intake reduces 10-year risk of CVD-related mortality

A high seafood intake and in particular small fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease mortality

The benefits of seafood (SF) intake such as fish exceed the potential risks from contaminants. In fact, an umbrella review identified the beneficial effect of fish intake for a range of chronic diseases. However, another review suggests only a small effect on cardiovascular mortality from eating fish. In addition, other and more recent work, proposes that the health benefits are only due to fatty fish, e.g., sardines, salmon etc.

In the current study, researchers wanted to tease out the benefits of a higher SF intake. They considered total servings of seafood and small fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids separately. Using a self-reported questionnaire, SF intake was categorised as high (>2 servings/week) or low (≤2 servings/week) intake). Similarly, intake of small fatty acid fish was also high or low (> 1 serving or < 1 serving/week). The incidence of both non-fatal and/or fatal CVD events served as the outcomes of interest after 10- and 20-years.

Seafood intake and cardiovascular events

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There were 2,020 individuals with a mean age of 45.2 years (50.2% female) with data for analysis. Furthermore, only 32.7% and 9.6% of the entire cohort had a high SF and small fish intake respectively.

Those consuming a high seafood intake, had a 27% lower risk of developing CVD over the next 10 years. However, this risk became non-significant in fully-adjusted models (hazard ratio, HR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.65 – 1.02). In contrast, the 10-year CVD-related mortality was significantly lower in those with a high SF intake (HR = 0.26, 95% CI 0.11 – 0.58). This was also true for a high intake of fatty fish (HR = 0.24, 95% CI 0.06 – 0.99). In addition, the 20-year CVD-related deaths were also lower for a high SF intake (HR = 0.76, 95% CI 0.55 – 0.98).

Therefore a high intake of seafood and particularly fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, was associated with a lower risk of 10-year fatal and non-fatal CVD. 

Critselis E et al. High fish intake rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces cardiovascular disease incidence in healthy adults: The ATTICA cohort study (2002-2022) Front Physiol 2023