Fatty fish consumption may reduce lipophilic index and therefore reduce risk of heart disease according to recent study

Article

A recent study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition found that fatty fish consumption may decrease the lipophilic index in people with impaired glucose metabolism or coronary heart disease.

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Маргарита Медведева

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Маргарита Медведева

A recent study1 conducted by the University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition found that fatty fish consumption may decrease the lipophilic index in people with impaired glucose metabolism or coronary heart disease. A lower lipophilic index is indicative of better membrane fluidity. According to the researchers, membrane fluidity “can modify functions of cells and membrane-bound proteins.”

To assess the effect of diet on lipophilic index, the researchers compared the effects of Camelina sativa oil (CSO) high in ALA, fatty fish (FF) and lean fish (LF) on lipophilic index compared to a control diet, as well as whether lipophilic index is associated with HDL lipids and functionality. They used data from two randomized clinical trials: The AlfaFish intervention, a 12-week study in which 70 subjects with impaired glucose intolerance were randomized to FF, LF, CSO, or control, and the Fish trial, in which 33 subjects with myocardial infarction or unstable ischemic heart attack were randomized to FF, LF, CSO, or control for eight weeks.

Results showed that in both trials, lipophilic index significantly decreased in the FF group, differing from that of the control group in both trials, and from the CSO group in the AlfaFish trial. No significant changes were observed in the lipophilic index of the LF or CSO groups. The researchers also observed an inverse association between lipophilic index and serum HDL cholesterol concentration in both trials as well as mean HDL size, with a larger mean HDL size being associated with lower lipophilic index.

Ultimately, the study suggests that fatty fish consumption improved lipophilic index and therefore membrane fluidity, lowering the risk of cardiovascular risk.

Reference

  1. Lyytinen, A.T.; Yesmean, M.; Manninen, S.; Lanckinen, M.; Bhalke, M.; Fredrikson, L.; et al. Fatty Fish Consumption Reduces Lipophilic Index in Erythrocyte Membranes and Serum Phospholipids. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2023, 33 (7): 1453-1460, DOI: 10.1016/j.numecd.2023.04.011
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