Mediterranean diet may hold off PAD in high-risk patients

The Mediterranean diet may lower the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to results published in a research letter in the Jan. 22-29 issue of JAMA.

The Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) trial evaluated the association between the Mediterranean diet and PAD in more than 7,400 patients who did not have cardiovascular disease or PAD, but did have either type 2 diabetes or at least three other risk factors. PREDIMED took place between 2003 and 2010.

The investigators, led by Miguel Ruiz-Canela, PhD, of the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, randomized participants into three groups—a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts and a group that received counseling on low-fat dieting, which served as the control group. All participants received dietary education each quarter.

After an average follow-up of 4.8 years, there were a total of 89 incident cases of PAD. Both of the Mediterranean diet groups had a lower risk of PAD compared with the control group. The hazard ratio (HR) was 0.34 for the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group and 0.50 for the Mediterranean diet with nuts group in comparison with the control group.

The authors noted that the study was an exploratory analysis since PAD was not a prespecified outcome. They also noted that the number of PAD events was small and the study only evaluated symptomatic cases. 

“We cannot ascertain whether the observed association is due to a reduced incidence of asymptomatic PAD (true primary prevention) or to a reduced conversion from this early stage of PAD to symptomatic and clinically meaningful PAD,” they wrote.