Extending the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

William S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The cardiovascular benefits of omega (n)-3 fatty acids (FA) become clearer with each passing year. Although useful in large doses for lowering serum triglyceride levels, the primary benefits are likely to arise from smaller, nutritional intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). Doses of less than 1 g/d appear to reduce risk for fatal coronary heart disease events, perhaps by stabilizing the myocardium and reducing risk for fatal arrhythmias. New evidence points to a possible benefit on atrial fibrillation, particularly in the immediate post-cardiac surgery setting. Studies in women with coronary heart disease now suggest that plaque progression may be slowed by increased intakes of oily fish, even in women with diabetes. The relative importance of the n-6 FA linoleic acid (LA), the short-chain n-3 FA alpha linolenic acid (ALA), and the long-chain n-3 FAs EPA and DHA is becoming clearer. If intakes of the latter are adequate (perhaps over 250 mg/d), then there appears to be little need to consume more ALA or less LA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-380
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent atherosclerosis reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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