Studies have demonstrated that patients with diets high in ϖ-3 fatty acids have a lower risk of adverse cardiovascular events. C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, is a strong predictor of future cardiovascular events. ϖ-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. However there is a paucity of data examining the effect of ϖ-3 fatty acids on CRP levels. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial tested the hypothesis that treatment with ϖ-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) would reduce serum high-sensitivity CRP levels.

Fifty three patients with elevated baseline CRP(>3 mg/l) were randomized to n-3 PUFA (27 patients) or placebo (26 patients). Patients with active infection, inflammatory disease, baseline CRP>10 mg/l or those started on HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor therapy during the study period were excluded. The primary end point was CRP level following 8 weeks of treatment.

After 8 weeks of treatment with the study drug, the median CRP level in the n-3 PUFA group was 3.4 mg/l compared with 4.0 mg/l in the placebo group (p=0.36). After controlling for baseline CRP, there was a significant percentage decrease in CRP from baseline in the n-3 PUFA group (-40.3%; p = 0.009) but not in the placebo group (-16.4%; p = 0.32)

Treatment for 8 weeks with ϖ-3 fatty acids resulted in a significant percentage reduction of CRP levels as compared with baseline, a finding not seen with placebo.

This study was conducted using Nordic Naturals ProEPA™/EPA™. The dose used was 3 caps/day.