Update on cardiometabolic health effects of w-3 fatty acids

D. Kromhout, J. de Goede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The fish fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may promote cardiometabolic health. This review summarizes the results of recent meta-analyses of prospective studies on cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type 2 and markers of atherosclerosis and thrombosis. RECENT FINDINGS: The results of recently published meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies showed that eating fish once a week was associated with a 16% lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) and a 14% lower risk of stroke incidence, but was not related to heart failure. Fish consumption may be associated with a higher risk of diabetes in Western countries and a lower risk in Asian countries. Recent meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials showed that EPA-DHA supplementation reduced the risk of fatal CHD and sudden death by 10% of which the latter was not significant. Extra EPA-DHA did not reduce the risk of heart failure, stroke and cardiac arrhythmias. ¿-3 fatty acid (FA) supplementation did reduce markers of ventricular fibrillation, inflammation and endothelial dysfunction and platelet aggregation. SUMMARY: There is strong evidence for a protective effect of ¿-3 FA on fatal CHD and for some markers of atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Consistent results were not obtained for other vascular diseases and diabetes. ¿-3 FA reduced markers of ventricular fibrillation but did not reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
JournalCurrent Opinion in Lipidology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • randomized controlled-trials
  • polyunsaturated fatty-acids
  • implantable cardioverter-defibrillators
  • long-chain omega-3-fatty-acids
  • fish consumption
  • cardiovascular-disease
  • myocardial-infarction
  • cardiac-arrhythmias
  • atrial-fibrillation
  • arterial stiffne

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