Daniel A. Gerber
Postmenopausal women who consumed 58 g to 74 g of protein per day had a lower risk for atrial fibrillation compared with those consuming less protein, according to data presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.
“Increasing healthy, lean protein intake could be a relatively easy way to lose weight and decrease your risk for atrial fibrillation,” Daniel A. Gerber, MD, cardiovascular medicine fellow at Stanford University and primary study author, said during a consumer web briefing.
In this study, researchers analyzed data from 99,554 women (median age, 64 years without AF at baseline from the Women’s Health Initiative. Women completed questionnaires to provide information on protein intake and physical activity. Reported protein intake was then calibrated using a previously validated biomarker protocol, yielding a median protein intake of 66 g per day.
Women were categorized into quartiles according to protein intake: first (< 58 g per day), second (58 g to 66 g per day), third (66 g to 74 g per day) and fourth (> 74 g per day).
Of the women in the study, 21.3% developed new AF during an average follow-up period of 10.1 years.
Compared with the lowest quartile of protein intake, women had significantly lower risk for AF in the second (P = .001) and third quartiles (P = .0005), yet the benefit was no longer statistically significant in those in the highest quartile.
Finally, the benefit of protein intake on incident AF was present regardless of women’s level of physical activity.
“Compared to current Recommended Dietary Allowance recommendations in the U.S., women eating as little as 10 g to 15 g per day more protein, roughly a cup of Greek yogurt, had significantly lower risk of AF,” Gerber said during the presentation. “We need more data to understand this benefit of higher protein intake, whether it is related to widespread metabolic effects including fat loss, lower BMI and improved insulin sensitivity, associated changes in carbohydrate or fat intake or possibly direct effects on cardiac remodeling. Lean body mass is highly correlated with left ventricular mass and cardiac remodeling. That is definitely something we want to explore in the future.” – by Darlene Dobkowski
Gerber DA, et al. Abstract 1061-03. Presented at: American College of Cardiology Scientific Session; March 28-30, 2020 (virtual meeting).
Disclosure: Gerber reports no relevant financial disclosures.