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Intake of traditional Inuit diet vary in parallel with inflammation as estimated from YKL-40 and hsCRP in Inuit and non-Inuit in Greenland

  • L.H. Schæbel
    Affiliations
    Arctic Health Research Centre, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

    Department of Endocrinology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
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  • H. Vestergaard
    Affiliations
    Department of Endocrinology, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • P. Laurberg
    Affiliations
    Department of Endocrinology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
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  • C.N. Rathcke
    Affiliations
    Department of Endocrinology, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

    Department of Cardiology, Nephrology and Endocrinology, Copenhagen University Hospital Hillerød, Denmark
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  • S. Andersen
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Arctic Health Research Centre, Aalborg University Hospital, Hobrovej 42D-1, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark. Tel.: +45 99321111; fax: +45 99326108.
    Affiliations
    Arctic Health Research Centre, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

    Department of Geriatric Medicine, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
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      Highlights

      • Inuit had a low occurrence of ischemic heart disease and a high intake of n-3 fatty acids.
      • n-3 fatty acid consumption has been linked to inflammation that predicts vascular risk.
      • The inflammatory biomarkers YKL-40 and hsCRP were higher in Inuit compared to non-Inuit.
      • YKL-40 and hsCRP increased with higher intakes of traditional Inuit diet.
      • Markers of inflammation may reflect the disease rather than the cause of the disease.

      Abstract

      Background

      Chronic low-grade inflammation is involved in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease. This was rare in pre-western Inuit who lived on a diet that consisted mainly of marine mammals rich in n-3 fatty acids.

      Objectives

      To assess the association between biomarkers of inflammation and the intake of traditional Inuit diet in addition to Inuit ethnicity.

      Methods

      YKL-40 and hsCRP were measured in serum from 535 Inuit and non-Inuit living in the capital city Nuuk in West Greenland or in the main town or a settlement in rural East Greenland. Dietary habits were assessed by an interview-based food frequency questionnaire.

      Results

      The participation rate was 95%. YKL-40 was higher in Inuit than in non-Inuit (p < 0.001), in Inuit with a higher intake of traditional Inuit diet (p < 0.001), and in Inuit from rural compared to urban areas (p < 0.001). It also rose with age (p < 0.001), alcohol intake (0.019) and smoking (p < 0.001). Inuit had higher hsCRP compared to non-Inuit (p = 0.003) and hsCRP increased in parallel with intake of traditional Inuit foods (p < 0.001). Alcohol associated with a decrease in hsCRP in Inuit (p = 0.004). YKL-40 and hsCRP increased with higher intakes of traditional Inuit diet after adjusting for ethnicity, gender, age, smoking, alcohol intake and BMI.

      Conclusions

      Biomarkers of inflammation vary in parallel with the intake of traditional Inuit diet. A diet based on marine mammals from the Arctic does not reduce inflammatory activity and it may be speculated that markers of inflammation reflect the disease rather than the cause of the disease.

      Keywords

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