Numerous epidemiological and controlled interventional trials have supported the health benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) from fish and fish oils as well as from algal sources. The beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease and related mortality including various risk factors for cardiovascular disease (particularly lowering circulating triglyceride levels and the triglyceride:HDL-cholesterol ratio) have been observed in the absence of any concomitant blood cholesterol lowering.

With appropriate dosages, consistent reductions in both fasting and postprandial triglyceride levels and moderate increases in fasting HDL-cholesterol levels have been observed with algal DHA in the majority of trials. These results are similar to findings for fish oils containing DHA and EPA. Related to greater fish intake, higher levels of DHA in circulating blood biomarkers (such as serum phospholipid) have been associated with reduced risks for the progression of coronary atherosclerosis and lowered risk from sudden cardiac death.

Controlled clinical trials have also indicated the potential for algal DHA supplementation to have moderate beneficial effects on other cardiovascular disease risk factors including blood pressures and resting heart rates.

Recommended intakes of DHA+EPA from numerous international groups for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease have been forthcoming, although most have not offered specific recommendations for the optimal individual intake of DHA and EPA.