Asthma/AllergyCancerCholesterol/LipidsOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Four reviews of omega-3 fatty acids: lipids, asthma, retinitis pigmentosa, and cancer

The literature reviews keep piling up. Here are the take home messages from 4 literature reviews of omega-3 fatty acids this year. One positive, three not positive or too soon to tell.


  • Adding omega-3-fatty acids lowers triglyceride levels in patients with hypertriglyceridemia


  • Few significant effects found
  • Impossible to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids alone or combined with other treatments is effective in children or adults with asthma

Retinitis pigmentosa

  • Clinical research is preliminary in this field
  • Trends in improvement of some retinitis pigmentosa outcomes with omega-3 fatty acids in the higher quality studies

Cancer risk

  • No significant associations between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and aerodigestive cancer (lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vocal cords, esophagus, and windpipe), bladder cancer, lymphoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, or stomach cancer
  • Mostly no benefit or negative effect on breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, advanced prostate cancer, and skin cancer
  • Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids is unlikely to prevent cancer

10/21/06 11:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.