OBJECTIVES: The aim of this work was to investigate the association between fish consumption and levels of various inflammatory markers among adults without any evidence of cardiovascular disease.

BACKGROUND: Fish consumption has been associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, but the mechanisms have not been well understood or appreciated.

METHODS: The ATTICA study is a cross-sectional survey that enrolled 1,514 men (age 18 to 87 years) and 1,528 women (age 18 to 89 years) from the Attica region, Greece. Of them, 5% of men and 3% of women were excluded due to a history of cardiovascular disease.
Among others, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, serum amyloid A (SAA), and white blood cells (WBC) were measured, and dietary habits (including fish consumption) were evaluated using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

RESULTS: A total of 88% of men and 91% of women reported fish consumption at least once a month. Compared to non-fish consumers, those who consumed >300 g of fish per week had on average 33% lower CRP, 33% lower IL-6, 21% lower TNF-alpha, 28% lower SAA levels, and 4% lower WBC counts (all p < 0.05).
Significant results were also observed when lower quantities (150 to 300 g/week) of fish were consumed. All associations remained significant after various adjustments were made.

CONCLUSIONS: Fish consumption was independently associated with lower inflammatory markers levels, among healthy adults.
The strength and consistency of this finding has implications for public health and should be explored further.