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How does Diet Affect the Risk of Peripheral Artery Disease?

Researchers investigated the association between diet, nutrients, and trans fatty acids, and the risk of developing peripheral artery disease.

Despite many well-recognized risk factors for peripheral artery disease (PAD), such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, there isn’t much known about the role of diet patterns in peripheral artery disease.

There are only a few published studies on peripheral artery disease and nutrients, and they are limited to exploring a single nutrient, food, or food group, thus limiting their ability to explain the complex interactions between nutrients and foods. As such, researchers in China published a study in Lipids in Health and Disease to uncover the associations between dietary patterns (DP), vitamin levels, and trans fatty acids, and the risk of developing PAD.

The study collected data from the United States’ National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys from 1999-2002 where demographic and biochemistry data were obtained via in-home questionnaires and mobile exam units. The study analysis included 4,864 participants, of which 269 had peripheral artery disease. The study found three dietary patterns that could potentially explain the variance in consumption of dietary nutrients. The first dietary pattern (DP1) included saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, the second dietary pattern (DP2) included minerals, vitamin and fibre, and the third dietary pattern (DP3) included polyunsaturated fatty acids.

After correcting for clinical and demographical confounders, the study results found that men without peripheral artery disease had a higher intake of nutrients, vitamins, fibre, and polyunsaturated fatty acids when compared to men with peripheral artery disease. It also determined significantly positive associations between having a higher score of DP2 and DP3 and lower severity of the disease. Peripheral artery disease patients also showed significantly greater concentrations of trans fatty acids and lower concentrations of vitamin D and vitamin A.

The study revealed that diets rich in minerals, vitamins, fibre and polyunsaturated fats have a lower risk of peripheral artery disease whereas diets rich in trans fatty acids have a higher risk of the disease. The participants without the disease had higher vitamin levels and lower trans fatty acids levels, which is in accordance with previous studies and proposed mechanisms by which trans fatty acids and nutrients can contribute to or prevent the development of peripheral artery disease.

This study is the largest to investigate dietary pattern and trans fatty acid associations with the disease, and their random sampling from a nationally representative pool makes their results generalizable to the U.S. population. However, since this was a cross-sectional study, it has limitations and cannot be used to prove that trans fatty acids cause peripheral artery disease.

Overall, the study sheds light on the independent associations between diet, nutrition, and trans fatty acids on peripheral artery disease, but future interventional studies could help evaluate the impact of these factors on clinical disease progression or delay.

Keyword: Maggie Leung, PharmD

Reference: Mazidi, M., Wong, N. D., Katsiki, N., Mikhailidis, D. P., & Banach, M. (2017). Dietary patterns, plasma vitamins and Trans fatty acids are associated with peripheral artery disease. Lipids in Health and Disease, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0635-y




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