The effects of dietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids on lipid and glucose metabolism and on fibrinolysis were evaluated in 14 non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients who were given 10 g of MaxEPA (3 g n-3 fatty acids) or placebo (olive oil) per day in a randomized double-blind cross-over study during two consecutive 8-week periods. The serum triglyceride (TG) concentrations decreased by 27% (P < 0.01) after addition of MaxEPA with a reduction of VLDL TG by 36% (P < 0.05) while LDL cholesterol increased by 6% (P = 0.05). The fasting blood sugar and HbA1c concentrations increased significantly after addition of MaxEPA but the changes were not significantly different from those during the placebo period. The highest glucose concentrations at fasting and after an i.v. glucose injection were seen after MaxEPA while the serum insulin concentrations were unchanged. The peripheral insulin sensitivity, as measured by a euglycaemic, hyperinsulinaemic clamp technique, did not change during the study. The mean plasminogen inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) activity of the patients was elevated compared with healthy controls. In spite of the reduction of the triglyceride concentrations and unchanged insulin levels, there was a significant increase of the activity of PAI-1 (+21%, P < 0.01) after MaxEPA suggesting a possible impairment of the fibrinolytic capacity. In many situations there seems to be a reduction of PAI-1 when the triglycerides are lowered. In the diabetic patients given n-3 fatty acids this was not the case.