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Researchers are investigating what's behind the Mediterranean diet and lowering cardiovascular risk



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A new study by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. The Chan School of Public Health provides insights from a cohort study of women in the US who reported eating a Mediterranean diet. The researchers found that the risk of cardiovascular disease had dropped by 25 percent among those who consumed a diet rich in plants and olive oil and low in meat and sweets. The team also investigated why and how a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by examining a panel of 40 biomarkers that are new and established biological factors for heart disease. The results of the team are published in JAMA Network Open .

"Our study has a strong public health message that modest changes in known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, particularly in the context of inflammation, glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, can contribute to the long-term benefit of a Mediterranean diet in cardiovascular disease risk." This understanding may have important downstream consequences for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, "said lead author Shafqat Ahmad, a research associate at Brigham and Harvard Chan School.

Randomized studies in Mediterranean countries and observational studies To date, studies have linked a Mediterranean diet to the reduction of cardiovascular disease, but the underlying mechanisms were unclear. Current research relies on data from more than 25,000 women health professionals who have participated in the women's health study. The participants completed nutrition questionnaires, provided blood samples to measure biomarkers, and were followed for up to 1

2 years. The primary results analyzed in the study were the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, defined as the first events of myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary artery revascularization, and cardiovascular death.

The team classified the study participants as a low, medium, or upper Mediterranean diet. They found that 428 (4.2 percent) of the women in the lower group had a cardiovascular event, compared to 356 (3.8 percent) in the middle group and 246 (3.8 percent) in the upper group, which a relative risk reduction of 23 percent equals 28 percent, an advantage comparable to that of statins or other preventive drugs

The team saw changes in inflammatory signals (which account for 29 percent of the risk for cardiovascular disease), glucose metabolism, and Insulin resistance (27.9 percent). and Body Max Index (27.3 percent). The team also found links to blood pressure, various forms of cholesterol, branched chain amino acids and other biomarkers, but found that these were less responsible for the link between Mediterranean diet and risk reduction.

"While previous studies have shown benefits For the Mediterranean diet to reduce cardiovascular events and improve cardiovascular risk factors, this has been a black box to what extent improvements in known and novel risk factors contribute to these effects," said correspondent author Samia Mora, MD, MHS, a cardiovascular system medical specialist at Brigham and Harvard Medical School. "In this large study, we found that minor differences in biomarkers on multiple factors contributed to this long-term cardiovascular benefit."


Explore Further:
The Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of stroke for women

Further information:
Shafqat Ahmad et al., Evaluation of Risk Factors and Biomarkers Associated with the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Women Consuming a Mediterranean Diet JAMA Network Open (2018). DOI: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2018.5708

Magazine Reference:
JAMA network open

Provided by:
Brigham and gynecological clinic


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