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Heart Int. 2006;2(3-4):141. doi: 10.4081/hi.2006.141. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

Antiatherogenic effects of n-3 fatty acids - evidence and mechanisms.

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Chair of Cardiology, "G. d'Annunzio" University, Chieti - Italy.


N-3 (omega-3) (polyunsaturated) fatty acids are thought to display a variety of beneficial effects for human health. Clues to the occurrence of cardiovascular protective effects have been, however, the spur for the first biomedical interest in these compounds, and are the best documented. Historically, the epidemiologic association between dietary consumption of n-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular protection was first suggested by Bang and Dyerberg, who identified the high consumption of fish, and therefore, of fish oil-derived n-3 fatty acids, as the likely explanation for the strikingly low rate of coronary heart disease events reported in the Inuit population. Since their initial reports, research has proceeded in parallel to provide further evidence for their cardioprotection and to understand underlying mechanisms. Decreased atherogenesis is currently thought to be a part of the cardiovascular protection by n-3 fatty acids. This article summarizes the evidence for such a claim and the mechanisms putatively involved.


Cardioprotection; Coronary heart disease; Fish; Fish oil; Nutrigenomics; Omega-3 fatty acids; n-3 fatty acids

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