Effects of supplemental long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and erythrocyte membrane fatty acid content on circulating inflammatory markers in a randomized controlled trial of healthy adults

Michael R. Flock, Ann C. Skulas-Ray, William Harris, Trent L. Gaugler, Jennifer A. Fleming, Penny M. Kris-Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


The long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated (n-3 PUFA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may have anti-inflammatory effects. We evaluated the dose-response effect of EPA+DHA supplementation on circulating TNF-α, IL-6, and CRP and explored associations between red blood cell (RBC) membrane PUFA content and TNF-α, IL-6, and CRP. Young adults with low fish intake (n=116) received one of five doses (0, 300, 600, 900, or 1,800 mg/d EPA+DHA) for 5 months. There were no significant effects of supplemental EPA+DHA on IL-6 or CRP; however, there was a marginal treatment effect for TNF-α (p<0.08). At baseline, higher quartiles of RBC DHA were associated with lower TNF-α (p=0.001); higher quartiles of arachidonic acid were associated with higher TNF-α (p=0.005). EPA+DHA supplementation had no dose-response effect on TNF-α, IL-6, or CRP in healthy young adults; however, associations between inflammatory markers and RBC PUFA warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalProstaglandins, leukotrienes, and essential fatty acids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Inflammation
  • Omega-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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