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Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid biomarkers and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality.

Jiang, Hong, Wang, Lina, Wang, Duolao ORCID:, Yan, Ni, Li, Chao, Wu, Min, Wang, Fan, Mi, Baibing, Chen, Fangyao, Jia, Wanru, Liu, Xi, Lv, Jiaxin, Liu, Yan, Lin, Jing and Ma, Le (2022) 'Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid biomarkers and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality.'. Clinical Nutrition, Vol 41, Issue 8, pp. 1798-1807.

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Background & aims

Considerable attention has focused on the role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases, which has led to dietary recommendations to increase omega-3 fatty acid intake. A meta-analysis was conducted to summarize evidence from prospective studies regarding associations between omega-3 PUFA biomarkers and risk of developing major chronic diseases.


Four electronic databases were searched for articles from inception to March 1, 2022. Random-effects model was used to estimate the pooled relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of omega-3 PUFAs, including α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD), including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, cancer, and mortality. The Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation assessment tool was used to rates the confidence in estimates.


A total of 67 prospective studies comprised of 310,955 participants were identified. Individual omega-3 PUFAs showed divergent associations with the study outcomes of interest. A significant inverse association with T2D risk was observed across categories of ALA (relative risk [RR]: 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.82–0.96), EPA (RR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.72–0.99) and DPA (RR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.73–0.96) biomarkers. The marine-origin omega-3 fatty acids biomarkers but not ALA was significantly associated with lower risks of total CVD, CHD, and overall mortality, with RRs ranging from 0.70 for DHA-CHD association to 0.85 for EPA-CHD association. A lower risk of colorectal cancer was observed at higher levels of DPA (RR: 0.76, 95% CI: 0.59–0.98) and DHA (RR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.65–0.99), whereas no association was noted for other outcomes. In addition, a dose–response relationship was observed between an increasing level of EPA, DPA, or DHA biomarker and lower risk of CVD.


Higher concentrations of marine-derived omega-3 PUFA biomarkers were associated with a significantly reduced risk of total CVD, CHD, and total mortality. Levels of ALA were inversely associated with a lower risk of T2D but not CVD-related outcomes. These data support the dietary recommendations advocating the role of omega-3 PUFAs in maintaining an overall lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and premature deaths.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Vitamins > QU 145 Nutrition. Nutritional requirements
WD Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc > Nutrition Disorders > WD 100 General works
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2022 10:18
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 01:11


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