Associations of Plasma Phospholipid SFAs with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Older Adults Differ According to SFA Chain Length.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Journal of nutrition (2015)


BACKGROUND: Not much is known about the relations of circulating saturated fatty acids (SFAs), which are influenced by both metabolic and dietary determinants, with total and cause-specific mortality.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the associations of plasma phospholipid SFAs with total and cause-specific mortality among 3941 older adults from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a population-based prospective study of adults aged ≥65 y who were followed from 1992 through 2011.

METHODS: The relations of total and cause-specific mortality with plasma phospholipid palmitic acid (16:0), stearic acid (18:0), arachidic acid (20:0), behenic acid (22:0), and lignoceric acid (24:0) were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: During 45,450 person-years of follow-up, 3134 deaths occurred. Higher concentrations of the plasma phospholipid SFAs 18:0, 22:0, and 24:0 were associated with a lower risk of total mortality [multivariable-adjusted HRs (95% CIs)] for the top compared with the bottom quintile: 0.85 (0.75, 0.95) for 18:0; 0.85 (0.75, 0.95) for 22:0; and 0.80 (0.71, 0.90) for 24:0. In contrast, plasma 16:0 concentrations in the highest quintile were associated with a higher risk of total mortality compared with concentrations in the lowest quintile [1.25 (1.11, 1.41)]. We also found no association of plasma phospholipid 20:0 with total mortality.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the associations of plasma phospholipid SFAs with the risk of death differ according to SFA chain length and support future studies to better characterize the determinants of circulating SFAs and to explore the mechanisms underlying these relations.