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Atherosclerosis. 2013 Feb;226(2):328-34. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.10.056. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Influence of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplementation on platelet aggregation in humans: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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Department of Geriatric Cardiology, General Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, 28 Fuxing Road, Beijing 100853, China.



Increased platelet activity predicts adverse cardiovascular events. The objective was to assess the effects of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA)-supplementation on platelet aggregation.


We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials identified using PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Library. Fifteen studies were included. In comparison to placebo using the random-effect model, n-3 PUFA-supplementation significantly reduced adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet aggregation (standard mean difference [SMD] = -1.23 with 95% confidence interval [CI] -2.24 to -0.23, p = 0.02) and platelet aggregation units, determined using the VerifyNow(®) rapid platelet-function assay system (SMD = -6.78 with 95% CI -12.58 to -0.98, p = 0.02). There was a trend toward decreased collagen-induced (SMD = -0.70 with 95% CI -0.72 to 0.33, p = 0.18) and arachidonic acid-induced platelet aggregation (SMD = -0.43 with 95% CI -2.26 to 1.40, p = 0.64) compared with controls; however, statistical significance was not reached.


Our meta-analysis demonstrates that n-3 PUFA-supplementation is associated with a significant reduction in platelet aggregation when the participants were at poor health status, but not in healthy persons. High-risk patients with cardiovascular disease and even diabetics may potentially benefit from n-3 PUFAs therapy. However, n-3 PUFAs may not be effective in primary prevention. Larger trials need to be carried out to confirm the present findings.

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