|Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Vital to a Longer, Healthier Life |
By Dale Kiefer
Shining Eyes, Glowing Skin, and All the Rest
Omega-3s are under investigation for the treatment of conditions ranging from chronic (post-viral) fatigue syndrome57 and psoriasis to atopic dermatitis and post-menopausal bone loss.58 Results generally have been encouraging, but further research is needed. Supplemental fish oil has even been used in the treatment of pancreatitis, a painful condition often accompanied by abnormally high levels of triglycerides.59 Fish oil has been proven to reduce triglyceride levels, even among otherwise healthy individuals.
Getting Yours— How Much Is Enough?
Attention also must be paid to the concentration of EFAs in a given supplement. Some supplements have such a low concentration of DHA and EPA, that seven or more capsules a day are needed to obtain minimum potencies. Higher concentrated supplements are available that provide more DHA/EPA in fewer capsules. Taking supplements with food is generally recommended for better tolerability. Omega-3s decrease blood viscosity and platelet aggregation, an action that explains at least some of the cardiovascular benefits conferred by these EFAs. Because of this, however, individuals taking blood-thinner medications should consult with their physicians before beginning supplementation in order to avoid the risk of excessive bleeding.
1. Krauss RM, Eckel RH, Howard B, et al. AHA dietary guidelines: Revision 2000: A statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2000: 102; 2284-2299.
2. Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ; American Heart Association. Nutrition Committee. Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular dis- ease. Circulation 2002; 106: 2747-2757.
3. Hu FB, Bronner L, Willett WC, et al. Fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake and risk of coronary heart disease in women. JAMA. 2002;287(14):1815-1821.
4. Oomen CM, Ocke MC, Feskens EJ, Kok FJ, Kromhout D, et al. Alpha-linolenic acid intake is not beneficially associated with 10-y risk of coronary artery disease incidence: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74(4):457-463.
5. Albert CM, Campos H, Stampfer MJ, et al. Blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids and risk of sudden death. N Engl J Med. 2002;346(15):1113-1118.
6. He K, Rimm EB, Merchant A, et al. Fish consumption and risk of stroke in men. JAMA. 2002;288(24):3130-3136.
7. Marchioli R, Barzi F, Bomba E, et al. Early protection against sudden death by n-3 polyunsaturated acids after myocardial infarction: time-course analysis of the results of the Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell-Infarto Miocardico (GISSI)-Prevenzione. Circulation. 2002;105(16):1897-1903.
8. Bucher HC et al. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in coronary heart disease: a meta-anal- ysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med. 2002;112(4):298-304.
9. Austin MA, Hokanson JE, Edwards KL, et al. Hypertriglyceridemia as a cardiovascular risk factor. Am J Cardiol. 1998;81(4A):7B- 12B.
10. Hu FB, Cho E, Rexrode KM, Albert CM, Manson JE, et al. Fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake and risk of coro nary heart disease and total mortality in dia betic women. Circulation. 2003;107(14): 1852-1857.
11. Hibbeln JR. Seafood consumption, the DHA content of mothers’ milk and prevalence rates of postpartum depression: a cross- national, ecological analysis. J Affect Disord. 2002;69(1-3):15-29.
12. Mamalakis G, Tornaritis M, Kafatos A, et al. Depression and adipose essential polyunsat- urated fatty acids. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2002;67(5):311-318.
13. Hibbeln JR. Fish consumption and major depression. Lancet. 1998;351(9110):1213.
14. Zanarini MC, Frankenburg FR. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment of women with border line personality disorder: a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Am J Psychiatry. 2003;160(1):167-169.
15. Tiemeier H, van Tuijl HR, Hofman A, Kiliaan AJ, Breteler MM. Plasma fatty acid composition and depression are associated in the elderly: the Rotterdam Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2003 July;78(1):40-46.
16. Stoll A. The Omega-3 Connection. Fireside/Simon & Schuster 2001.
17. Edwards R, Peet M, Shay J, Horrobin D. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in the diet and in red blood cell membranes of depressed patients. J Affect Disord 1998 Mar; 48(2-3):149-55.
18. Stoll AL, Severus WE, Freeman MP, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids in bipolar disorder: a preliminary double-blind, placebo-con trolled trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1999 May;56(5):407-12.
19. Marangell LB, Martinez JM, Zboyan HA, Kertz B, Kim HF, Puryear LJ. A double- blind, placebo-controlled study of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexanoic acid in the treatment of major depression. Am J Psychiatry. 2003 May;160(3):996-8.
20. Mischoulon D, Fava M. Docosahexanoic acid and omega-3 fatty acids in depression. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2000 Dec;23(4): 785-94.
21. Nemets B, Stahl Z, Belmaker RH. Addition of omega-3 fatty acid to maintenance medi cation treatment for recurrent unipolar depressive disorder. Am J Psychiatry 2002 Mar;159(3):447-9.
22. Richardson AJ, Ross MA. Fatty acid metabolism in neurodevelopmental disor- der: a new perspective on associations between attention-deficit/hyperactivity dis- order, dyslexia, dyspraxia and the autistic spectrum. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2000 Jul-Aug;63(1-2):1-9.
23. Vancassel S, Durand G, Barthelemy C, et al. Plasma fatty acid levels in autistic children. Prostaglandins Leuokot Essent Fatty Acids. 2001;65(1):1-7.
24. Bell JG, Sargent JR, Tocher DR, Dick JR. Red blood cell fatty acid compositions in a patient with autistic spectrum disorder: a characteristic abnormality in neurodevelop mental disorders? Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2000 Jul-Aug;63(1-2):21-25.
25. O’Connor DL, Hall R, Adamkin D, et al. Growth and development in preterm infants fed long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: a prospective, randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2001;108(2):359-371.
26. Gibson RA, Chen W, Makrides M. Randomized trials with polyunsaturated fatty acid interventions in preterm and term infants: functional and clinical outcomes. Lipids. 2001;36(9)873-883.
27. Makrides M, Gibson RA. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid requirements dur ing pregnancy and lactation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(1 Suppl):307S-311S.
28. Smuts CM, Huang M, Mundy D, Plasse T, Major S, Carlson SE. A randomized trial of docosahexanoic acid supplementation dur ing the third trimester of pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2003;101(3):469-479.
29. Calder PC. Dietary modification of inflam mation with lipids. Proc Nutr Soc. 2002;61(3):345-358.
30. Kremer JM. N-3 fatty acid supplements in rheumatoid arthritis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(1 suppl):349S-351S.
31. Kyle DJ, Schaefer E, Patton G, Beiser A. Low serum docosahexanoic acid is a signifi cant risk factor for Alzheimer’s dementia. Lipids. 1999;34 Suppl:S245.
32. Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. J Am Clin Nutr 2002 Dec;21(6):495-505.
33. Calder PC, Zurier RB. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Matab Care. 2001 Mar;4(2):115-21.
34. Azira-Azira R, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids in rheumatoid arthritis: an overview. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Jun;27(6):336-70.
35. Jeffrey BG, Weisinger HS, Neuringer M, Mitchell DC. The role of docosahexanoic acid in retinal function. Lipids. 2001;36(9):859-871.
36. Woods RK, Thien FC, Abramson MJ. Dietary marine fatty acids (fish oil for asthma in adults and children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002(3):CD001283.
37. Rose DP, Connolly JM. Omega-3 fatty acids as cancer chemopreventive agents. Pharmacol Ther. 1999;83(3):217-244.
38. Bartsch H, Nair J, Owen RW. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and cancers of the breast and colorectum. Emerging evi dence for their role as risk modifiers. Carcinogenesis. 1999;20(12):2209-2218.
39. Terry PD, Rohan TE, Wolk A. Intakes of fish and marine fatty acids and the risks of can cers of the breast and prostate and of other hormone-related cancers: a review of the epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77(3):532-543.
40. Schwartz J Role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in lung disease. Am J Clin Nutr. Jan 2000;71(1 Suppl): 393S-396S.
41. De Vizia B, Raia V, Spano C, Pavlidis C, Coruzzo A, Alessio M. Effect of an 8-month treatment with omega-3 fatty acids (ecos apentanoic and docosahexanoic) in patients with cystic fibrosis. J Parenter Enteral Nutr. Jan-Feb 2003;27(1):52-57.
42. Myanaga K et al. DHA shortens P300 laten cy in healthy persons. International confer ence on Highly Unsaturated FattyAcids in Nutrition and Disease Prevention. 1996 Barcelona, Spain.
43. Schwartz J, Weiss ST. The relationship of dietary fish intake to level of pulmonary function in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I). Eur Respir J 1994;7:1821–4.
44. Hardman WE. Omega-3 fatty acids to aug ment cancer therapy. J Nutr. 2002 Nov;132(11 Suppl):3508S-3512S.
45. Liu G, Bibus DM, Bode AM, Ma WY, Holman RT, Dong Z. Omega-3 but not omega-6 fatty acids inhibit AP-1 activity and cell transformation in JB6 cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001 Jun;98(13):7510-7515.
46. Assies J, Lieverse R, Vreken P, Wanders RJ, Dingemans PM, Linszen DH. Significantly reduced docosahexanoic and docosapentanoic acid concentration in erythrocyte membranes from schizophrenic patients compared with a carefully matched control group. Biol Psychiatry. 2001;49(6):510-522.
47. Lorenz R, Weber PC, Szimnau P, Heldwein W, Strasser T, Loeschke K. Supplementation with n-3 fatty acids from fish oil in chronic inflammatory bowel disease: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind cross-over trial. J Intern Med Suppl. 1989; 225(731):225-232.
48. Lorenz-Meyer H, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and low carbohydrate diet for the mainte nance of remission in Crohn’s disease. A randomized, controlled, multicenter trial. Study Group Members (German Crohn’s Disease Study Group). Scand J Gasteroenterol. 1996;31(8):778-785.
49. Nestle P, et al. The n-3 fatty acids eicosapen taenoic acid and docosahexanoic acid increase systemic arterial compliance in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:326-30.
50. Harris WS. n-3 fatty acids and serum lipoproteins: human studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65(5 Suppl):1645S-1654S.
51. Kang JX, Leaf A. Prevention of fatal cardiac arrhythmias by polyunsaturated fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan;71(1 Suppl):202S-7S.
52. Lee KW, Lip GY. The role of omega-3 fatty acids in the secondary prevention of cardio vascular disease. QJM. 2003 Jul;96(7):465-80.
53. Nair SS, Leitch JW, Falconer J, Garg ML. Prevention of cardiac arrhythmia by dietary (n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and their mechanism of action. J Nutr. 1997 Mar;127(3):383-93.
54. Brenna JT. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Curr Opin Nutr Metab Care. 2002;5(2):127-132.
55. Burdge GC, Jones AE, Wootton SA. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acids are the principal products of alpha-linolenic acid metabolism in young men. Br J Nutr. 2002;88(4):355-363.
56. Burdge GC, Wooten SA. Conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in young women. Br J Nutr. 2002;88(4):411-420.
57. Behan PO. Effect of high doses of essential fatty acids on the postviral fatigue syndrome. Acta Neurol Scand. 1990 Sep;82(3):209-16.58. Ketler DB. Can manipulation of the ratios of essential fatty acids slow the rapid rate of postmenopausal bone loss? Altern Med Rev. 2001 Feb;6(1):61-77.
59. Foitzik T, Eibl G, Schneider P, Wenger FA, Jacobi CA, Buhr HJ. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases anti-inflammatory cytokines and attenuates systemic disease sequelae in experimental pancreatitis. J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2002 Nov-Dec;26(6):351-6.