Relationship between high sodium and low PUFA intake and carotid atherosclerosis in elderly women

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Several biologically active molecules including nutrients can affect the vascular endothelium which becomes dysfunctional and, as a consequence, predisposes to atherosclerosis. However, the impact of the intake of sodium and polyunsaturated fatty acids on carotid atherosclerosis in a population of elderly women has scarcely been studied. Our aim was to investigate the association between carotid intima-media thickness and atherosclerotic plaque and nutrient intake in asymptomatic elderly women. Carotid atherosclerosis was determined by duplex ultrasound in 108 elderly women. Dietary intake was assessed by a combination of a 24-hour recall and a 7-day food record. A physical examination and laboratory tests were performed. We found an association between the C-IMT and polyunsaturated fatty acid (negative, B=−0.014; p=0.03; CI −0.027/−0.001) and sodium (positive, r=0.16; P=0.09) intake. When linoleic acid was added to the multivariable regression analysis instead of polyunsaturated fatty acids, C-IMT was associated with linoleic acid (B=−0.017; p=0.02; CI −0.032/−0.003). In normotensive women we found a positive association between the C-IMT and sodium intake. The atherosclerotic plaque prevalence increased with the increase in sodium intake (66% vs 90% Tertile I vs Tertile III; p=0.02). Iin conclusion, A low salt diet to a level of about 1.5g/d and a polyunsaturated fatty acid intake of >9g/d were found to be associate with a low atherosclerotic plaque prevalence in an elderly female population. Sodium and polyunsaturated fatty acids-mediated functional changes of the carotid endothelium may be implicated in atherosclerosis development.HIGHLIGHTSSeveral nutrients are implicated in the atherosclerosis development.The role of sodium and PUFA has been scarsely studied.A low salt and a high PUFA diet are associated with a low atherosclerosis prevalence.

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