Omega-3 fatty acid supply from milk associates with lower type 2 diabetes in men and coronary heart disease in women
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CitationPrev Med 2004, 39(3):630-4
AbstractBACKGROUND: Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease (CHD). We investigated these fatty acids in Nordic cow's milk and whether their supply from milk associates with type 2 diabetes prevalence and CHD mortality in the Nordic countries. METHODS: Samples (N = 84) of consumers' milk were collected in five Nordic countries four times during 1 year. Fatty acids were analyzed using gas chromatography. Fatty acids supply from milk fat was calculated using national food balance sheets. RESULTS: The omega-3 fatty acids content was higher and omega-6 fatty acid content was lower in Icelandic milk when compared with milk from other Nordic countries. Type 2 diabetes prevalence in men correlated inversely with the supply of omega-3 fatty acids and eicosapentaenic acid, but positively with omega-6/omega-3 ratio in milk. CHD mortality in women correlated inversely with the supply of eicosapentaenic acid but positively with the omega-6/omega-3 ratio. CONCLUSIONS: Milk fatty acids content can depend upon the origin of the milk. The higher supply of omega-3 fatty acids from milk might explain the lower type 2 diabetes prevalence and CHD mortality in Iceland compared to the other Nordic countries.
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