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Recent select meta-analyses cast doubt on efficacy of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular outcomes


*Corresponding author
1. Midwestern University – College of Pharmacy, 19555 North 59th Avenue Glendale, AZ 85308, USA
2. Banner Boswell Medical Center, 10401 West Thunderbird Boulevard Sun City, AZ 85351, USA


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are commonly consumed for their potential health benefits, one being cardiovascular disease prevention. This article examines the results of recent meta-analyses evaluating the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 PUFAs. The majority of these analyses show mixed results, which has caused some clinicians and patients to question the benefit of omega-3 PUFAs in preventing cardiovascular outcomes. In conclusion, additional clinical trials with adequate study design could help clear up some of the mixed data that is currently published in terms of omega-3 PUFAs and cardiovascular outcomes.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as a group have gained popularity over the past several decades as a growing body of evidence of their potential benefits has been published. Current areas of research include cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric, and inflammatory disease, as well as some types of cancer (1).


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, making prevention and treatment key public health issues (2). In early 2000, several guidelines recommended the consumption of omega-3 PUFAs based on the results of several key clinical trials (3-5). The American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation (AHA/ACCF) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) recommend that adults consume omega-3 PUFAs for cardiovascular disease risk reduction (6-7). These guidelines emphasize the fact that 2 servings of fatty fish per week, especially oily species like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon, provide significant amounts of the omega-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that have been shown to be ca ...

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