The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular health.Altern Ther Health Med. 2013; 19 Suppl 1:26-30.AT
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) play an important role in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Clinicians should strongly consider therapy with ω-3 PUFAs for individuals at risk for CVD and with known CVD, particularly individuals who are at increased risk for sudden cardiac death. The amount of ω-3 PUFA in erythrocyte membranes, which is the ω-3 index, could prove to be a modifiable risk factor for CVD. This review outlines potential mechanisms of action, the ω-3 index, results of clinical and prevention trials, and recommendations for ω-3 PUFA therapy in CVD. The majority of epidemiologic and controlled interventional studies have demonstrated that marine- and plant-derived ω-3 PUFAs have beneficial effects on CVD. The ω-3 index may prove to be a valuable tool for assessing an individual's need for increased ω-3 PUFAs through diet or supplementation.