Published: 28-07-2015 08:42 | Updated: 21-08-2015 13:44

Fats from fish and vegetables may increase longevity

A study that included more than 4,000 Swedish 60-year-olds, showed that high levels of polyunsaturated fats in the blood are linked to increased longevity and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study was a collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University and was published in the medical journal Circulation.

In most studies that investigate the correlation between food and longevity, the subjects report what they have eaten, and this may be inaccurate. In the current study, the level of polyunsaturated fats in the blood of the subjects was measured. This has previously been shown to be a good indicator of intake of these fats that are abundant in oily fishes such as salmon and herring, as well as in walnuts, avocado and olives.

“This is the world's largest study in the area as far as we know, and one of its strengths is that both men and women were evaluated at the same time”, says Professor Mai-Lis Hellénius at the Department of Medicine, Solna, Karolinska Institutet, one of the researchers in this study.

The results show that high levels of polyunsaturated fats in the blood are associated with decreased overall mortality in both men and women. In women, polyunsaturated fat intake was also linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. When the results were calculated, other important lifestyle factors, such as exercise alcohol and smoking, were also taken into account.

­“The findings are clinically relevant and support current dietary guidelines that advise us to shift from saturated to unsaturated fats”, says Mai-Lis Hellénius.

This study was supported by Stockholm County Council, Swedish Heart and Lung-Foundation, Swedish Research Council, and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Text: Jenny Tollet


Polyunsaturated Fat Intake Estimated by Circulating Biomarkers and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality in a Population-Based Cohort of 60-Year-Old Men and Women
Marklund M, Leander K, Vikström M, Laguzzi F, Gigante B, Sjögren P, Cederholm T, de Faire U, Hellénius ML, Risérus U
Circulation 17 June 2015, doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.015607