• Higher DHA levels resulted in reduced incidence and lowered mortality associated with interstitial lung disease.



Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, attenuates interstitial lung disease (ILD) in experimental models but human studies are lacking.


We examined associations of circulating levels of DHA, and other polyunsaturated fatty acids, with hospitalization and death due to ILD over 12 years in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA, n=6,573). We examined cross-sectional associations with CT lung abnormalities in MESA (2000-2012), Framingham Heart Study (2005-2011), and Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility (2002-2006) Study (total n=10,193). Polyunsaturated fatty acid levels were from fasting blood samples and extracted from plasma phospholipids (MESA and Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility) or red blood cell membranes (Framingham Heart Study).


Higher DHA levels were associated with a lower risk of hospitalisations due to ILD (adjusted rate ratio 0.69 per standard deviation increment (95% CI 0.48, 0.99) and a lower rate of death due to ILD (adjusted hazard ratio 0.68 per standard deviation increment, 95% CI 0.47, 0.98). Higher DHA was associated with less interstitial lung abnormalities on CT (pooled adjusted odds ratio 0.65 per natural log increment; 95% CI 0.46, 0.91).


Higher DHA levels were associated with a lower risk of hospitalisation and death due to ILD and less lung abnormalities on CT in a meta-analysis of population-based cohorts.

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