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Arch Intern Med. 2001 Oct 8;161(18):2185-92.

The fats of life: the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of coronary heart disease.

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Department of Medicine, Emory University, Thomas Glenn Building, 69 Butler St SE, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.


Epidemiological and clinical trial evidence suggests that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might have a significant role in the prevention of coronary heart disease. Dietary sources of omega-3 PUFA include fish oils rich in eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid along with plants rich in alpha-linolenic acid. Randomized clinical trials with fish oils (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) and alpha-linolenic acid have demonstrated reductions in risk that compare favorably with those seen in landmark secondary prevention trials with lipid-lowering drugs. Several mechanisms explaining the cardioprotective effect of omega-3 PUFAs have been suggested, including antiarrhythmic, hypolipidemic, and antithrombotic roles. Although official US guidelines for the dietary intake of omega-3 PUFAs are not available, several international guidelines have been published. Fish is an important source of omega-3 PUFAs in the US diet; however, vegetable sources, including grains and oils, offer an alternative source for those who are unable to regularly consume fish.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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