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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1997 Sep 20;827:310-26.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the insulin resistance syndrome. Lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo, Norway.


Dietary fatty acids appear to be of significant importance for several of the most-common diseases in modern societies. To obtain more knowledge about the health consequences of dietary fatty acids, we depend upon a better understanding of the mechanisms of action of these fatty acids in vivo. With regard to the IRS, omega-3 PUFA may exert beneficial effects upon many of the associated pathophysiological metabolic changes. Omega-3 PUFA reduce fasting and postprandial TG, may improve insulin sensitivity (as shown in animal experiments), decrease platelet and leukocyte reactivity, alter immunological functions, and may slightly decrease blood pressure. Omega-3 PUFA may also beneficially influence vessel wall characteristics and blood rheology. Furthermore, both types of PUFA (omega-3 and omega-6) have been shown to inhibit cardiac arrhythmias in animals. The role of omega-3 PUFA in blood clotting and fibrinolysis still remains controversial, whereas omega-6 fatty acids may lead to increased oxidation of lipoproteins. Regardless of the effects on LDL oxidizability, both types of PUFA have shown beneficial effects on the development of atherosclerosis. As yet, little is known about the effect of specific omega-6 fatty acids with respect to the IRS. Potential adverse effects of dietary PUFA must not be neglected, but should be viewed in light of the beneficial effects of these agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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