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Arch Med Sci. 2012 Nov 9;8(5):784-93. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2012.31613. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

Application of polyunsaturated fatty acids in internal medicine: beyond the established cardiovascular effects.

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  • 1Medical and Surgical Sciences Department, University of Bologna, Italy.


n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are organic acids, essential for mammals, whose deficiency is associated with different diseases. The American Heart Association recommends that all adults increase food-derived n-3 PUFA intake and also suggests that patients with documented coronary heart disease consume approximately 1 g of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid per day. However, recent evidence broadens their potential application to many other health disorders directly or indirectly associated with cardiovascular disease risk such as rheumatological diseases, mood depression, chronic kidney disease, chronic inflammatory lung diseases and others. These effects seem to be largely dependent on the dosages employed and on the characteristics of the selected patients. The cardiometabolic effects of PUFAs have been largely reviewed elsewhere, so the aim of our review is to point out the potential usefulness of such drugs with pleiotropic effects in the management of the actual typical aging patient, with co-morbidities and multidrug therapies.


docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; internal medicine; polyunsaturated fatty acids

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