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Lipids. 2010 Aug;45(8):669-81. doi: 10.1007/s11745-010-3450-z. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Effects of seal oil and tuna-fish oil on platelet parameters and plasma lipid levels in healthy subjects.

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School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne, VIC, 3001, Australia.


Fish are a rich source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) with cardiovascular benefits. A related but less-investigated LC n-3 PUFA, docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), is more common in seal oil and pasture-fed red meats. This study compared indicators of platelet function and plasma lipids in healthy volunteers given supplements containing these different fatty acids (FA) for 14 days. Subjects, randomised into three groups of ten, consumed capsules of tuna oil (210 mg EPA, 30 mg DPA, 810 mg DHA), seal oil (340 mg EPA, 230 mg DPA, 450 mg DHA) or placebo (sunola) oil. Supplementary LC n-3 PUFA levels were approximately 1 g/day in both fish and seal oil groups. Baseline dietary FA and other nutrient intakes were similar in all groups. Both fish and seal oil elevated platelet DHA levels (P < 0.01). Seal oil also raised platelet DPA and EPA levels (P < 0.01), and decreased p-selectin (P = 0.01), a platelet activation marker negatively associated with DPA (P = 0.03) and EPA (P < 0.01) but not DHA. Plasma triacylglycerol decreased (P = 0.03) and HDL-cholesterol levels increased (P = 0.01) with seal oil only. Hence, seal oil may be more efficient than fish oil at promoting healthy plasma lipid profiles and lowering thrombotic risk, possibly due to its high DPA as well as EPA content.

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