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06-04-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Changing fatty-acid ratio important for tackling LDL cholesterol

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MedWire News: Managing the ratio of dietary polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids (P/S) is important in controlling serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, researchers say.

They found further evidence that the dietary P/S ratio is inversely associated with both total and LDL cholesterol levels in middle-aged Japanese people.

However, the team from Japan, Bangladesh, the UK, and USA concede that the P/S ratio was neither related to metabolic risk factors nor the metabolic syndrome.

“Our results suggest that to manage the metabolic syndrome, changing the P/S ratio, ie, recommending a non-westernized (eg, Japanese-style) diet, is not enough,” they say.

“Other countermeasures, such as higher physical activity and reduced energy intake to reduce excess body weight should be recommended.”

Zhao Guo (Shiga University of Medical Science, Otsu City, Japan) and colleagues studied 1004 individuals from four populations in Japan, all aged 40 to 59 years, who were taking part in the INTERLIPID study.

The participants’ intakes of nutrients were compared with cardiovascular risk factors using dietary assessment, anthropometric and lifestyle assessment, as well as blood examination.

The dietary P/S ratio was significantly inversely associated with total and LDL cholesterol after controlling for possible confounders. However, the P/S ratio was neither associated with single metabolic risk factors nor the metabolic syndrome.

Reporting in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, the researchers say: “Improvement of dietary lipid intake leading to a higher P/S ratio is important to prevent coronary artery disease by controlling LDL cholesterol.

“However, without prevention/control of overweight/obesity, this intervention may not improve other metabolic risk factors.”

They conclude: “Other measures, particularly higher physical activity, reduced energy intake, and smoking cessation, are needed to improve metabolic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome.”

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Anita Wilkinson