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

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Abstract

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.

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