British Journal of Nutrition

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Consumption of long-chain n-3 PUFA, α-linolenic acid and fish is associated with the prevalence of chronic kidney disease

Bamini Gopinatha1, David C. Harrisa2, Victoria M. Flooda3, George Burlutskya1 and Paul Mitchella1 p1 c1

a1 Centre for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology and Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

a2 Centre for Transplantation and Renal Research, Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

a3 Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of Wollongong, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of PUFA, it has been suggested that they may protect against kidney damage in adults. However, relatively few epidemiological studies have examined this hypothesis in human subjects. We investigated the association between dietary intakes of PUFA (n-3, n-6 and α-linolenic acid), fish and the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD). A total of 2600 Blue Mountains Eye Study (1997–9) participants aged ≥ 50 years were analysed. Dietary data were collected using a semi-quantitative FFQ, and PUFA and fish intakes were calculated. Baseline biochemistry including serum creatinine was measured. Moderate CKD was defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate of < 60 ml/min per 1·73 m2. Participants in the highest quartile of long-chain n-3 PUFA intake had a significantly reduced likelihood of having CKD compared with those in the lowest quartile of intake (multivariable-adjusted OR 0·69, 95 % CI 0·49, 0·99). α-Linolenic acid intake was positively associated with CKD (OR, per standard deviation increase in α-linolenic acid, 1·18, 95 % CI 1·05, 1·32). Total n-3 PUFA or total n-6 PUFA were not significantly associated with CKD. The highest compared with the lowest quartile of fish consumption was associated with a reduced likelihood of CKD (OR 0·68, 95 % CI 0·48, 0·97; P for trend = 0·02). The present study shows that an increased dietary intake of long-chain n-3 PUFA and fish reduces the prevalence of CKD. Hence, a diet rich in n-3 PUFA and fish could have a role in maintaining healthy kidney function, in addition to roles of these nutrients in the prevention and modulation of other diseases.

(Received September 07 2010)

(Revised November 05 2010)

(Accepted November 07 2010)

(Online publication January 24 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: P. Mitchell, fax +61 2 9845 6117, email

p1 Present address: Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, Hawkesbury Road, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia


Abbreviations: AA, arachidonic acid; BMES, Blue Mountains Eye Study; CKD, chronic kidney disease; eGFR, estimated glomerular filtration rate