High consumption of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been associated with lower plasma homocystine (Hcy) levels, but intervention studies in humans have been inconclusive. The objective was to systematically evaluate the effects of ω-3 PUFA supplementation on plasma Hcy levels.

A comprehensive search of Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Clinical Trials Registry, and bibliographies of relevant articles published from 1966 through September 2010 was undertaken. All randomized, placebo-controlled trials that compared ω-3 PUFA supplementation with placebo were included. Two investigators performed data extraction and quality scoring independently, with discrepancies resolved by consensus.

Eleven trials including 702 subjects were analyzed. The outcomes studied were plasma Hcy level. Eleven randomized, placebo-controlled trials were included in this meta-analysis. Supplementation with ω-3 PUFAs was associated with a significant decrease in plasma Hcy level (weighted mean difference -1.59 μmol/L, 95% confidence interval -2.34 to -0.83) compared with control subjects.

This meta-analysis suggested that ω-3 PUFA supplementation can decrease plasma Hcy levels. The implications of these findings remain to be elucidated.