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Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Aug;104(2):280-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.131896. Epub 2016 Jun 8.

A randomized, crossover, head-to-head comparison of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid supplementation to reduce inflammation markers in men and women: the Comparing EPA to DHA (ComparED) Study.

Author information

1
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Pavillon des Services.
2
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Pavillon des Services, University Hospital Center (CHU) of Québec Research Center, and.
3
University Hospital Center (CHU) of Québec Research Center, and Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada; and.
4
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Pavillon des Services, University Hospital Center (CHU) of Québec Research Center, and Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Quebec, Canada.
5
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Pavillon des Services, benoit.lamarche@fsaa.ulaval.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To date, most studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in humans have used a mixture of the 2 fatty acids in various forms and proportions.

OBJECTIVES:

We compared the effects of EPA supplementation with those of DHA supplementation (re-esterified triacylglycerol; 90% pure) on inflammation markers (primary outcome) and blood lipids (secondary outcome) in men and women at risk of cardiovascular disease.

DESIGN:

In a double-blind, randomized, crossover, controlled study, healthy men (n = 48) and women (n = 106) with abdominal obesity and low-grade systemic inflammation consumed 3 g/d of the following supplements for periods of 10 wk: 1) EPA (2.7 g/d), 2) DHA (2.7 g/d), and 3) corn oil as a control with each supplementation separated by a 9-wk washout period. Primary analyses assessed the difference in cardiometabolic outcomes between EPA and DHA.

RESULTS:

Supplementation with DHA compared with supplementation with EPA led to a greater reduction in interleukin-18 (IL-18) (-7.0% ± 2.8% compared with -0.5% ± 3.0%, respectively; P = 0.01) and a greater increase in adiponectin (3.1% ± 1.6% compared with -1.2% ± 1.7%, respectively; P < 0.001). Between DHA and EPA, changes in CRP (-7.9% ± 5.0% compared with -1.8% ± 6.5%, respectively; P = 0.25), IL-6 (-12.0% ± 7.0% compared with -13.4% ± 7.0%, respectively; P = 0.86), and tumor necrosis factor-α (-14.8% ± 5.1% compared with -7.6% ± 10.2%, respectively; P = 0.63) were NS. DHA compared with EPA led to more pronounced reductions in triglycerides (-13.3% ± 2.3% compared with -11.9% ± 2.2%, respectively; P = 0.005) and the cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio (-2.5% ± 1.3% compared with 0.3% ± 1.1%, respectively; P = 0.006) and greater increases in HDL cholesterol (7.6% ± 1.4% compared with -0.7% ± 1.1%, respectively; P < 0.0001) and LDL cholesterol (6.9% ± 1.8% compared with 2.2% ± 1.6%, respectively; P = 0.04). The increase in LDL-cholesterol concentrations for DHA compared with EPA was significant in men but not in women (P-treatment × sex interaction = 0.046).

CONCLUSIONS:

DHA is more effective than EPA in modulating specific markers of inflammation as well as blood lipids. Additional studies are needed to determine the effect of a long-term DHA supplementation per se on cardiovascular disease risk. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01810003.

KEYWORDS:

DHA; EPA; inflammation; men and women; randomized controlled trial; risk factors

PMID:
27281302
DOI:
10.3945/ajcn.116.131896
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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