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Lipid Insights. 2013 Apr 16;6:13-20. doi: 10.4137/LPI.S10846. eCollection 2013.

Do omega-3 polyunsaturated Fatty acids prevent cardiovascular disease? A review of the randomized clinical trials.

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1
University of Pennsylvania Health System, Department of Medicine and Cardiology, Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Abstract

Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Numerous epidemiological studies and several large randomized clinical trials have shown that modest doses of omega-3 PUFAs significantly reduce the risk of unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death as well as death in coronary artery disease and heart failure patients. Based on the scientific evidence, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended all individuals eat fish at least twice a week to prevent cardiovascular disease. For individuals with coronary artery disease, the recommended dose of omega-3 PUFAs is 1 g of EPA and DHA daily. To lower triglyceride levels, much higher doses are needed. However, more recent randomized clinical trials have questioned the cardiovascular benefits of fish oil. These studies have contributed to the uncertainty health care providers face when recommending omega-3 PUFA supplementation according to clinical guidelines. The purpose of this review is to examine the randomized clinical trials and scientific evidence between omega-3 PUFAs and cardiovascular outcomes to better understand the current role of omega-3 PUFAs in improving cardiovascular health.

KEYWORDS:

coronary heart disease; fish oil; heart failure; omega-3 fatty acids

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