Dietary linolenic acid and fasting glucose and insulin: The national heart, lung, and blood institute family heart study

Luc Djoussé, Steven C. Hunt, Tang Weihong, John H. Eckfeldt, Michael A. Province, R. Curtis Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess whether dietary linolenic acid is associated with fasting insulin and glucose. Research Methods and Procedures: In a cross-sectional design, we studied 3993 non-diabetic participants of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study 25 to 93 years of age. Linolenic acid was assessed through a food frequency questionnaire, and laboratory data were obtained after at least a 12-hour fast. We used generalized linear models to calculate adjusted means of insulin and glucose across quartiles of dietary linolenic acid. Results: From the lowest to the highest sex-specific quartile of dietary linolenic acid, means ± standard error for logarithmic transformed fasting insulin were 4.06 ± 0.02 (reference), 4.09 ± 0.02, 4.13 ± 0.02, and 4.17 ± 0.02 pM, respectively (trend, p < 0.0001), after adjustment for age, sex, energy intake, waist-to-hip ratio, smoking, and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. When dietary linolenic acid was used as a continuous variable, the multivariable adjusted regression coefficient was 0.42 ± 0.08. There was no association between dietary linolenic acid and fasting glucose (trend p = 0.82). Discussion: Our data suggest that higher consumption of dietary linolenic acid is associated with higher plasma insulin, but not glucose levels, in non-diabetic subjects. Additional studies are needed to assess whether higher intake of linolenic acid results in an increased insulin secretion and improved glucose use in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006


  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Linolenic acid
  • N-3 fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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