Effects of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol fish oil supplemented in hypertriglyceridemic patients. A placebo-controlled trial

William Harris, C. A. Dujovne, M. Zucker, B. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Study Objective: To determine the effects of fish oil supplements low in saturated fat and cholesterol on plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels in hypertriglyceridemic patients. Design: Single-blind, placebo-controlled (safflower oil), crossover trial with 6-week treatment periods. Setting: Outpatient lipid clinic in a university medical center. Patients: Eleven adult patients had isolated hypertriglyceridemia (type IV) and seven had concomitant hypercholesterolemia (Type IIb). Intervention: Twelve 1-g capsules of either fish oil or placebo (safflower oil) were taken daily during each treatment period. Measurement and Main Results: Blood was drawn at the fifth and sixth week of each period and analyzed for total lipids; cholesterol in very low, low (LDL), and high density (HDL) lipoproteins (mmol/L); and apoprotein B (mg/dL). Compared with the placebo, fish oil lowered plasma triglyceride levels (4.0 ± 1.8 to 2.5 ± 1.0), and raised LDL cholesterol levels (3.7 ± 1.75 to 4.25 ± 0.85), apolipoprotein B levels (122 ± 29 to 140 ± 34), and the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol (4.0 ± 0.9 to 4.7 ± 1.4) (P <0.05; mean ± SD). No significant changes were seen in levels of HDL or HDL cholesterol subfractions. Similar responses were seen in patients with both type IIb and IV lipoprotein phenotypes. Conclusions: Because the fish oil supplement contributed negligible amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet, the n-3 fatty acids most likely caused the observed effects. These findings indicate that relatively small amounts of fish oil can have beneficial effects on plasma triglyceride levels in hypertriglyceridemic patients, but the increase in LDL cholesterol and apoprotein B levels, and in the LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio suggests the need for careful monitoring of plasma lipoprotein changes during fish oil supplementation, and for a careful evaluation of their long-term benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-470
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Volume109
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

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Fish Oils
Fats
Cholesterol
Placebos
LDL Cholesterol
Apolipoproteins B
Safflower Oil
HDL Cholesterol
Lipoproteins
HDL Lipoproteins
Lipids
Triglycerides
Hypertriglyceridemia
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Ambulatory Care Facilities
Hypercholesterolemia
Cross-Over Studies
Capsules
Diet
Phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Effects of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol fish oil supplemented in hypertriglyceridemic patients. A placebo-controlled trial. / Harris, William; Dujovne, C. A.; Zucker, M.; Johnson, B.

In: Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 109, No. 6, 1988, p. 465-470.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harris, William ; Dujovne, C. A. ; Zucker, M. ; Johnson, B. / Effects of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol fish oil supplemented in hypertriglyceridemic patients. A placebo-controlled trial. In: Annals of Internal Medicine. 1988 ; Vol. 109, No. 6. pp. 465-470.
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abstract = "Study Objective: To determine the effects of fish oil supplements low in saturated fat and cholesterol on plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels in hypertriglyceridemic patients. Design: Single-blind, placebo-controlled (safflower oil), crossover trial with 6-week treatment periods. Setting: Outpatient lipid clinic in a university medical center. Patients: Eleven adult patients had isolated hypertriglyceridemia (type IV) and seven had concomitant hypercholesterolemia (Type IIb). Intervention: Twelve 1-g capsules of either fish oil or placebo (safflower oil) were taken daily during each treatment period. Measurement and Main Results: Blood was drawn at the fifth and sixth week of each period and analyzed for total lipids; cholesterol in very low, low (LDL), and high density (HDL) lipoproteins (mmol/L); and apoprotein B (mg/dL). Compared with the placebo, fish oil lowered plasma triglyceride levels (4.0 ± 1.8 to 2.5 ± 1.0), and raised LDL cholesterol levels (3.7 ± 1.75 to 4.25 ± 0.85), apolipoprotein B levels (122 ± 29 to 140 ± 34), and the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol (4.0 ± 0.9 to 4.7 ± 1.4) (P <0.05; mean ± SD). No significant changes were seen in levels of HDL or HDL cholesterol subfractions. Similar responses were seen in patients with both type IIb and IV lipoprotein phenotypes. Conclusions: Because the fish oil supplement contributed negligible amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet, the n-3 fatty acids most likely caused the observed effects. These findings indicate that relatively small amounts of fish oil can have beneficial effects on plasma triglyceride levels in hypertriglyceridemic patients, but the increase in LDL cholesterol and apoprotein B levels, and in the LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio suggests the need for careful monitoring of plasma lipoprotein changes during fish oil supplementation, and for a careful evaluation of their long-term benefits.",
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