Although several prospective cohort studies have found an inverse association between fish consumption and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) or sudden cardiac death in the general population, limited data are available among diabetic patients.
We examined prospectively the association between intake of fish and omega-3 fatty acids and risk of CHD and total mortality among 5103 female nurses with diagnosed type 2 diabetes but free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline. Between 1980 and 1996 (45 845 person-years of follow-up), we documented 362 incident cases of CHD (141 CHD deaths and 221 nonfatal myocardial infarctions) and 468 deaths from all causes. Compared with women who seldom consumed fish (<1 serving/mo), the relative risks (RRs) (95% CI) of CHD adjusted for age, smoking, and other established coronary risk factors were 0.70 (0.48 to 1.03) for fish consumption 1 to 3 times per month, 0.60 (0.42 to 0.85) for once per week, 0.64 (0.42 to 0.99) for 2 to 4 times per week, and 0.36 (0.20 to 0.66) for 5 or more times per week (P for trend=0.002). Higher consumption of fish was also associated with a significantly lower total mortality (multivariate RR=0.48 [0.29 to 0.80] for > or =5 times per week [P for trend=0.005]). Higher consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a trend toward lower incidence of CHD (RR=0.69 [95% CI 0.47 to 1.03], P for trend=0.10) and total mortality (RR=0.63 [95% CI, 0.45 to 0.88], P for trend=0.02).
A higher consumption of fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a lower CHD incidence and total mortality among diabetic women.