Dietary Linoleic Acid and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies
Background—Prior studies on intake of linoleic acid (LA), the predominant n-6 fatty acid, and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk have generated inconsistent results. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to summarize the evidence regarding the relation of dietary LA intake and CHD risk.
Methods and Results—We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE databases through June, 2013 for prospective cohort studies that reported the association between dietary LA and CHD events. In addition, we utilized unpublished data from cohort studies in a previous pooling project. We pooled the multivariate-adjusted relative risk (RR) comparing the highest with the lowest categories of LA intake using fixed-effect meta-analysis. We identified 13 published and unpublished cohort studies with a total of 310,602 individuals and 12,479 total CHD events including 5,882 CHD deaths. Comparing the highest to the lowest category, dietary LA was associated with a 15% lower risk of CHD events (pooled RR, 0.85; 95% confidence intervals (95% CI): 0.78-0.92; I²=35.5%) and a 21% lower risk of CHD deaths (pooled RR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.71-0.89; I²=0.0%). A 5% of energy increment in LA intake replacing energy from saturated fat intake was associated with a 9% lower risk of CHD events (RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.86-0.96) and a 13% lower risk of CHD deaths (RR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.82-0.94).
Conclusions—In prospective observational studies, dietary LA intake is inversely associated with CHD risk in a dose-response manner. These data provide support for current recommendations to replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat for primary prevention of CHD.
- Received March 25, 2014.
- Revision received June 22, 2014.
- Accepted July 29, 2014.