PUFA benefit goes poof yet again

  • Abdelhamid AS & al.
  • Cochrane Database Syst Rev
  • 27 Nov 2018

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as those in fish oils, do little for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and nothing for all-cause or CVD mortality, according to this Cochrane review.
  • Unusually rapid update of 2018 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Why this matters

Key results

  • Risk ratios (95% CIs) with PUFA supplement/foods vs control (all moderate-quality evidence):
    • All-cause mortality: 0.98 (0.89-1.07); 19,290 participants, 24 trials.
    • Coronary heart disease: 0.87 (0.72-1.06); 10,076 participants, 15 trials.
    • CVD events: 0.89 (0.79-1.01); 17,799 participants, 21 trials.
  • Risk ratios and 95% CIs with PUFA supplement/foods vs control (all low-quality evidence):
    • Coronary heart disease death: 0.91 (0.78-1.06); 8810 participants, 9 trials.
    • Stroke: 0.91 (0.58-1.44); 14,742 participants; 11 trials.
    • CVD mortality: 1.02 (0.82-1.26); 15,107 participants, 16 trials.
  • Slightly decreased triglycerides but no/little cholesterol, BMI effects.

Study design

  • 49 RCTs, 24,272 participants, 1-8-year durations.
  • Funding: WHO.

Limitations

  • Those of included studies.

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