A comparison of heart rate variability, n-3 PUFA status and lipid mediator profile in age- and BMI-matched middle-aged vegans and omnivores

Ana M. Pinto, Thomas A B Sanders, Alexandra C. Kendall, Anna Nicolaou, Robert Gray, Haya Al-Khatib, Wendy L. Hall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Low heart rate variability (HRV) predicts sudden cardiac death. Long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFA (C20–C22) status is positively associated with HRV. This cross-sectional study investigated whether vegans aged 40–70 years (n 23), whose diets are naturally free from EPA (20 : 5n-3) and DHA (22 : 6n-3), have lower HRV compared with omnivores (n 24). Proportions of LC n-3 PUFA in erythrocyte membranes, plasma fatty acids and concentrations of plasma LC n-3 PUFA-derived lipid mediators were significantly lower in vegans. Day-time interbeat intervals (IBI), adjusted for physical activity, age, BMI and sex, were significantly shorter in vegans compared with omnivores (mean difference −67 ms; 95 % CI −130, −3·4, P50 % and high-frequency power) were similarly lower in vegans, with no differences during sleep. In conclusion, vegans have higher 24 h SDNN, but lower day-time HRV and shorter day-time IBI relative to comparable omnivores. Vegans may have reduced availability of precursor markers for pro-resolving lipid mediators; it remains to be determined whether there is a direct link with impaired cardiac function in populations with low-n-3 status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-685
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Volume117
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Keywords

  • CHD
  • Eicosanoids
  • Heart rate variability
  • Inflammation
  • Lipid mediators
  • n-3 PUFA
  • Vegans

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