N-3 fatty acid supplements reduce chylomicron levels in healthy volunteers

William Harris, S. L. Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


To study the effects of small amounts of n-3 fatty acids on postprandial lipemia, 16 normal volunteers took 2.2 g of n-3 fatty acids/day (provided from either 11 fish oil capsules or 2Tbsp of a fish oil emulsion) for 4 weeks. Oral fat loads (1 g fat/kg bw) were given once at the beginning and end of the study. The rise in chylomicron triglyceride and n-3 fatty acid levels were measured. Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids lowered chylomicron triglyceride levels by 36% (P <0.01) and fasting triglyceride levels by 26% (P <0.05). HDL cholesterol levels increased by 13% (P <0.01) due entirely to an increase in the HDL-2 subfraction. After one month, there were no statistically significant differences between the capsule and emulsion groups in any test parameters. N-3 fatty acids were absorbed at the same rate and to the same extent from capsules and emulsion. Reductions in postprandial lipemia and increases in HDL-2 cholesterol levels may play a role in the reported ability of these FAs to retard atherogenesis. In addition, emulsified fish oil appears to be a reasonable alternative to capsules for subjects wishing to increase their intake of n-3 fatty acids by supplementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-15
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

Cite this