High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a marker of low-grade sustained inflammation. Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

The aim of this study was to investigate whether plasma n-3 fatty acid concentration is related to hs-CRP concentration. A total of 124 free-living adults, were divided into tertiles of plasma hs-CRP (<1.0, 1.0-3.0 and >3.0 mg/l). Body composition and anthropometric measurements were recorded. Hs-CRP was analysed using immunoassays and fatty acids were measured by gas chromatography. Plasma hs-CRP concentration was negatively correlated with total n-3 fatty acids (P=0.05), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; P=0.002) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA; P=0.01).

The highest hs-CRP tertile (>3.0 mg/l) had significantly lower concentrations of total n-3 fatty acids, EPA and DPA, when compared with the other tertiles (P<0.05).

This study provides evidence that in healthy individuals, plasma n-3 fatty acid concentration is inversely related to hs-CRP concentration, a surrogate marker of CVD risk.

Key Words: inflammation, cardiovascular disease - omega-3 fatty acids, c-reactive protein, epa, dpa