Intensive analysis

With respect to the circulating fatty acids component in the EPIC-CVD study, 37 specific circulating plasma fatty acids have currently been measured in a subset of about 30,000 participants (over 15,000 coronary heart disease cases and 15,000 common controls) from 10 countries in Europe.

This provides an excellent individual participant-based analytical platform to assess the relationships of composite and individual circulating blood fatty acid composition with coronary risk.


The principal aims of the ongoing work are to do more reliable characterisation than previously performed. This all relates to two key questions:

  1. What are various determinants of individual fatty acids (including lifestyle, dietary and hereditary characteristics recorded in the EPIC-CVD study population)?
  2. What are the associations between circulating plasma fatty acids (measured both as a composite group and as individual subtypes) and risk of first-ever CHD, incorporating consistent controlling for various factors that may distort the true relationship?

The results will be of fundamental importance for the understanding of this area of public health – but also for many economic actors, whether palm oil producers, food manufacturers and healthcare providers among others.

This study is being conducted across Europe right now, and we anticipate that some of the results will be available in early 2017. The decades-old paradigm in relation to fats is being challenged: the more research we undertake, including this important new study, the better informed we will be on the truth about fats and nutrition.

Dr Rajiv Chowdhury
Senior Research Associate in Global Cardiovascular Health
University of Cambridge, England


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