BACKGROUND: Inflammation has been identified as a marker for cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of fish oil fatty acid supplementation on C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

METHODS: The study uses a double-blind, permuted-randomized, and placebo-controlled experimental protocol. Patients are randomly placed into a fish oil group or a control group. Thirty-three patients in the experimental and control groups ingest 2 soft-gel pills (1 g each) of fish oil supplements containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or placebo at each meal. Patients follow the supplementation protocol for 6 months. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is used to measure pretest and posttest differences in the variable of interest. A Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for normality is used to test whether CRP levels are normally distributed.

RESULTS: The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for CRP finds a P value of .273 (KS = .997), revealing that the distribution is normal. ANOVA reveals no statistically significant difference between groups at baseline for CRP (F = 4.118, P = .053). ANOVA reveals a significant main effect (F = 4.29, P = .048) for CRP, with the EPA/DHA group having a significant change in values from pretest (16 mg/dL, standard deviation [SD] = 13.80) to posttest (10.22 mg/dL, SD = 7.87). The placebo group's CRP levels do not change significantly from pretest (13.37, standard deviation [SD] = 7.94) to posttest (13.67, SD = 7.07). An observed power calculation using Cohen's D with a computed alpha of .05 is .588.

CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates that consuming 960 mg/d of EPA and 600 mg/d of DHA can lower CRP.