Habitual Intake of Marine-Derived n-3 PUFAs is Inversely Associated with a Cardiometabolic Inflammatory Profile in Yup'ik Alaska Native People

Bert B. Boyer, Scarlett E. Hopkins, Howard W. Wiener, Jonathan Q. Purnell, DIane M. O'Brien, Cindy X. Zhang, Joseph E. Aslan, Theresa Aliwarga, Jeremy J. Pomeroy, Kenneth E. Thummel, Hemant K. Tiwari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: The relationship between dietary n-3 PUFAs and the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, is unresolved. Examination of the association between n-3 PUFAs and chronic low-grade inflammation in a population where many individuals have had an extremely high intake of marine mammals and fish throughout their lifespan may provide important clues regarding the impact of n-3 PUFAs on health. Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore associations between concentrations of n-3 PUFAs resulting from habitual intake of natural food sources high in fish and marine mammals with immune biomarkers of metabolic inflammation and parameters of glucose regulation. Methods: A total of 569 Yup'ik Alaska Native adults (18-87 years old) were enrolled in this cross-sectional study between December 2016 and November 2019. The RBC nitrogen isotope ratio (NIR; 15N/14N) was used as a validated measure of n-3 PUFA intake to select 165 participant samples from the first and fourth quartiles of n-3 PUFA intakes. Outcomes included 38 pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and 8 measures of glucose homeostasis associated with type 2 diabetes risks. These outcomes were evaluated for their associations with direct measurements of EPA, DHA, and arachidonic acid in RBCs. Analysis: Linear regression was used to detect significant relationships with cytokines and n-3 PUFAs, adiposity, and glucose-related variables. Results: The DHA concentration in RBC membranes was inversely associated with IL-6 (β = -0.0066; P < 0.001); EPA was inversely associated with TNFα (β = -0.4925; P < 0.001); and the NIR was inversely associated with Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) (β = -0.8345; P < 0.001) and IL-10 (β = -1.2868; P < 0.001). Conclusions: Habitual intake of marine mammals and fish rich in n-3 PUFAs in this study population of Yup'ik Alaska Native adults is associated with reduced systemic inflammation, which may contribute to the low prevalence of diseases in which inflammation plays an important role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-855
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • chemokines
  • cytokines
  • fish oil
  • immune biomarkers
  • omega fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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