Background: Several investigations have adopted self-reported intake frequency of fish as a surrogate for intake of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, for which protective effects against cancer have been suggested. Whether reported fish consumption reflects the fatty acid intake, however, has to be elucidated. Methods: We examined the association between intake frequency of fish and serum long-chain n-3 fatty acids (weight percentage of total fatty acids) among 1,257 control subjects (631 men and 626 women), aged 40-79 years, in case-control studies nested in the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study. All the subjects were not fasting when blood was drawn. Serum fatty acids were determined by gas chromatography. Results: In men, intake frequency of fresh fish and dried or salted fish was significantly but weakly correlated with serum levels of eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosapentaenoic (n-3) (DPA), and docosa-hexaenoic (DHA) acids; the age-adjusted Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from 0. 11 to 0. 18. In women, fresh fish consumption was somewhat associated with serum EPA (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.12) as was dried or salted fish consumption with serum DPA (0.11). A rising trend in geometric means of serum EPA, DPA, and DHA was found with an increasing intake frequency of fresh or dried/salted fish in both sexes. The geometric means adjusted for age and participating institution in the highest intake category were higher than those in the lowest by 7% to 40%. Conclusions: A population with high self-reported frequency of fish intake, as a group, may have higher bioavailability of long-chain n-3 fatty acids than one with low frequency.
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