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Fibre Intake Linked to Better Survival After a Heart Attack

Well, last month was the slowest month in terms of new studies I covered--just one! With the CHFA show in Vancouver, then family illnesses, including having the flu myself, this website was neglected. Interestingly, it was still the fourth-best month in the site's history in terms of traffic, so that indicates to me that the site has become a valuable resource for anyone looking recent research on a number of different topics I've covered over the last few years. So I appreciate everyone's support, and I hope to get back into the swing of things here; starting with this new study showing the benefits of fibre consumption after a heart attack.

Results from two large cohort studies from the US have provided solid evidence that increasing fibre consumption can increase survival after a heart attack. Increasing dietary fibre is already known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events (primary prevention), but is not typically seen as a therapy for secondary prevention.

Researchers reviewed data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The results were obtained from those who were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline, suffered a heart attack over the follow-up period, and completed dietary questionnaires both pre- and post-heart attack.

In all, 2258 women and 1840 men in the two studies had heart attacks during follow-up (as well as the requisite dietary data). For both sexes, a post-heart attack increase in fibre consumption was associated with a reduced risk of death. Modeled as a continuous variable, every 10 g/day increase in fibre was associated with a 15% reduced risk of mortality.

Examined by quintile, those who consumed the highest amount of fibre (median intake of 27.4 g/day) were 25% less likely to die of any cause after a heart attack than subjects in the lowest quintile (12.95 g/day). A similar pattern was seen for cardiovascular mortality.

The take-away learning from this is that it's never too late to increase fibre consumption. Some may think, "I've already had a heart attack; it's too late to make a change." This study shows it's never too late--even after a lifetime of eating less fibrous foods than recommended.

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Source: Dietary fiber intake and mortality among survivors of myocardial infarction: Prospective cohort study 

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