Hypertriglyceridemia is a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). The American Heart Association recommends 1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), daily for cardioprotection and higher doses for triglyceride-lowering in patients with CAD.

This was a prospective, randomized, double-blind study comparing DHA to DHA + EPA in patients with CAD and triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dL. Subjects were randomized to either 1000 mg of DHA or 1252 mg of DHA + EPA for eight weeks. Baseline and eight-week laboratories were drawn to assess changes in the fasting lipid profile. The primary objective was to evaluate the change in triglycerides between the two groups at eight weeks.

A total of 116 subjects were enrolled; 57 in the DHA group and 59 in the DHA + EPA group. Baseline characteristics were similar between groups. The mean age was 69.4 +/- 9.1 years and 70.7% were male. Triglycerides decreased by an average of 21.8% in the DHA group (p < 0.001) and 18.3% in the DHA + EPA group (p < 0.001). The difference between groups was not significant. A greater proportion of subjects in the DHA group achieved triglyceride goal (less than 150 mg/dL) compared to the DHA + EPA group (24.6% versus 10.2%, p < 0.05).

Our results indicate that the American Heart Association recommended cardioprotective dose of omega-3 fatty acids can also significantly lower triglycerides in patients with CAD. There do not appear to be significant differences in triglyceride-lowering between DHA only and DHA + EPA combination products when dosing is based on DHA.

PMID: 17229894

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