A healthy diet has been proven to reducethe risks of many types of disease, but little isknown about the role of diet in the developmentof venous thromboembolism (VTE). A recentlypublished prospective study of nearly 15,000patients who were followed over 12 yearsshowed a decreased risk of VTE in patientswho consumed fish 1 or more times perweek and 4 or more servings of fruitsand vegetables daily.
Diet was assessed using a 66-itemquestionnaire. Participants were dividedinto quintiles based on the number ofservings they ate of 6 different foodgroups. These food groups includedwhole grains, refined grains, fruits andvegetables, dairy, fish, and processedmeat. Patients in quintiles 2 through 5who ate fish once or more per week hada 30% to 45% lower risk of VTE, comparedwith quintile 1. Patients who atelarger amounts of fruits and vegetableshad a 27% to 53% lower risk of VTE.These results were suggestive of trendsbut not statistically significant.
The authors postulated that participantswho ate more of these 2 foodgroups had a higher intake of folate andomega-3 fatty acids. Increased folateintake has been associated with lowerlevels of homocysteine, which maylower risk of VTE. Omega-3 fatty acidshave positive effects on vascular function,which may also lower VTE risk. Thisstudy is the first prospective study of theeffect of diet on VTE. Further study isrequired to verify the relationship of dietto VTE risk.
Dr. Garrett is a clinical pharmacistpractitioner at Cornerstone HealthCare in High Point, NC.