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Postgrad Med J. 2009 Feb;85(1000):84-90. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2008.073338.

Omega-3 fatty acids: a comprehensive review of their role in health and disease.

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Department of Medicine, Melaka Manipal Medical College, 75150, Melaka, Malaysia.


Omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3 FAs) are essential fatty acids with diverse biological effects in human health and disease. Reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is a well-established benefit of their intake. Dietary supplementation may also benefit patients with dyslipidaemia, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, obesity, inflammatory diseases, neurological/ neuropsychiatric disorders and eye diseases. Consumption of omega-3 FAs during pregnancy reduces the risk of premature birth and improves intellectual development of the fetus. Fish, fish oils and some vegetable oils are rich sources of omega-3 FAs. According to the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition guidelines (2004), a healthy adult should consume a minimum of two portions of fish a week to obtain the health benefit. This review outlines the health implications, dietary sources, deficiency states and recommended allowances of omega-3 FAs in relation to human nutrition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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