Heart DiseaseOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Effect of prescription omega-3 on triglycerides and coronary heart disease

Two old acquaintances, Drs. James McKenney and Domenic Sica from Virginia Commonwealth University, have reviewed the evidence. Here’s a summary.

Prescription capsules of omega-3 fatty acids are made from the fish oil extracted from fish carcasses. It’s then put through a purification process that refines, esterifies, purifies, and concentrates the ethyl esters of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

What’s in a capsule?

  • A 1-gram capsule contains 840 mg of EPA and DHA.
  • The remaining 160 mg contains other omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, and monounsaturated acids.

Response to treatment.

  • A 4-gram daily dose in patients with very high triglyceride blood levels (at least 500 mg/dL) lowers triglyceride blood levels by about 45%.
  • Very-low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol declines by more than 50%.
  • Changes in high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol are usually modest.

It’s an example of a former CAM now considered an important part of mainstream medicine.

4/1/07 18:38 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 www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.