There is a large body of evidence documenting the effects of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids with the first double bond at the third position from methyl-terminal (so called omega-3 fatty acids (FAs)) on different components of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. However, it may seem the more answers on the topic we learn, the more questions remain to be elucidated. There are three levels of evidence documenting the impact of fish omega-3 FAs on CVD risk. Epidemiological data have shown unequivocally the increased intake of fish is associated with lower CVD morbidity and mortality. Numerous experimental studies have shown (almost always) positive effects of omega-3 FAs on lipoprotein metabolism, coagulation and platelet function, endothelial function, arterial stiffness etc. Most importantly, there are a few prospective clinical endpoint trials (DART, JELIS, GISSI Prevenzione and GISSI-HF) that have examined the impact of omega-3 FAs supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes in different patient populations. Recent meta-analyses of these and other clinical studies have yielded somewhat conflicting results. In this review we will summarize current evidence of omega-3 FAs effects on cardiovascular risk focusing on new data from recent clinical trials as well as possible practical implications for clinical practice.

PMID: 19857032

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