Concept: Omega-9 fatty acid
Early randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrated the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3), whereas recent RCTs were negative. We now address the issue, focusing on the temporal changes having occurred: most patients in recent RCTs are no longer n-3 deficient and the vast majority are now treated with statins. Recent RCTs testing n-3 against arrhythmias suggest that n-3 reduce the risk only in patients not taking a statin. Other recent RCTs in secondary prevention were negative although, in a post-hoc analysis separating statin users and non-users, non-significant protection of n-3 was observed among statin non-users whereas statin users had no effect. Recent RCTs testing statins - after the implementation of the New Clinical Trial Regulation in 2007 - are negative (or flawed) suggesting that the lack of effect of n-3 cannot be attributed to a parallel protection by statins. Finally, statins favor the metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids (n-6), which in turn inhibits n-3 and, contrary to n-3, they increase insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes.Thus, n-3 and statins are counteractive at several levels and statins appear to inhibit n-3.
Little is known about the relationship between perceptions of nutrient adequacy and biomarkers of nutrition status. This cross-sectional study of U.S. and German adults (n = 200; 18-80 years) compared dietary practices, knowledge, and beliefs of omega-3 fatty acids (O3-FA) with the omega-3 index (O3-I), an erythrocyte-based biomarker associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. More than half of adults believed that O3-FAs are beneficial for heart and brain health and could correctly identify the food sources of O3-FA. However, the mean O3-I in the U.S. (4.3%) and Germany (5.5%) puts the majority of adults sampled (99%) in intermediate or high CVD-risk categories. More Americans were considered at high CVD-risk (40%) when compared with Germans (10%). In the U.S., but not Germany, women had a significantly higher O3-I than men (4.8% vs. 3.8%, p < 0.001). In the intermediate CVD-risk group, about one-third of adults in both countries (30% in the U.S. and 27% in Germany) believed their diet was adequate in O3-FA. Notably, mean O3-I concentrations did not significantly differ with dietary perceptions of adequacy. More adults in Germany (26%) than in the U.S. (10%) believed that dietary supplements are needed to achieve a balanced diet. In spite of adequate knowledge about food sources and a consistent belief that O3-FA are important for health, very few participants had O3-I concentrations in the range for CVD protection.
Current guidelines advocate the use of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids supplements for the prevention of coronary heart disease and major vascular events in people with prior coronary heart disease, but large trials of omega-3 fatty acids have produced conflicting results.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have anticolorectal cancer (CRC) activity. The intestinal microbiota has been implicated in colorectal carcinogenesis. Dietary omega-3 PUFAs alter the mouse intestinal microbiome compatible with antineoplastic activity. Therefore, we investigated the effect of omega-3 PUFA supplements on the faecal microbiome in middle-aged, healthy volunteers (n=22).
Biochemical and behavioral evidence has suggested that the ratio of n-6 (omega-6) to n-3 (omega-3) could be an important predictor of executive function abilities in children.
Accumulating evidence indicates that cognitive decline depends not only upon changes in brain health, but critically, also upon nutritional status. Decline in fluid intelligence, one of the most debilitating aspects of cognitive aging, has been linked to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) status; however, it is not known whether this phenomenon results from specific omega-3 PUFAs acting on particular aspects of brain health. Therefore, this study aims to explore whether particular patterns of omega-3 PUFAs influence fluid intelligence by supporting specific neural structures.
There is evidence that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have lower omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) levels compared with controls and conflicting evidence regarding omega-6 (n-6) PUFA levels.
Metabolic endotoxemia, commonly derived from gut dysbiosis, is a primary cause of chronic low grade inflammation that underlies many chronic diseases. Here we show that mice fed a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids exhibit higher levels of metabolic endotoxemia and systemic low-grade inflammation, while transgenic conversion of tissue omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids dramatically reduces endotoxemic and inflammatory status. These opposing effects of tissue omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can be eliminated by antibiotic treatment and animal co-housing, suggesting the involvement of the gut microbiota. Analysis of gut microbiota and fecal transfer revealed that elevated tissue omega-3 fatty acids enhance intestinal production and secretion of intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP), which induces changes in the gut bacteria composition resulting in decreased lipopolysaccharide production and gut permeability, and ultimately, reduced metabolic endotoxemia and inflammation. Our findings uncover an interaction between host tissue fatty acid composition and gut microbiota as a novel mechanism for the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids. Given the excess of omega-6 and deficiency of omega-3 in the modern Western diet, the differential effects of tissue omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids on gut microbiota and metabolic endotoxemia provide insight into the etiology and management of today’s health epidemics.
- Current treatment options in cardiovascular medicine
- Published about 3 years ago
Early secondary prevention trials of fish and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) capsules reported beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes, including all-cause mortality and sudden cardiac death. These clinical findings, as well as observational and experimental data, demonstrated that omega-3 PUFAs reduced the risk of coronary outcomes and overall mortality and were the basis for recommendations made in the early 2000s to increase omega-3 PUFA intake. In the last 6 years, however, results from both primary and secondary prevention trials have generally failed to show a beneficial effect of omega-3 PUFA supplementation, bringing current recommendations into question. Several possible reasons for these null findings have been proposed, including short treatment periods, relatively low doses of omega-3 PUFAs, small sample sizes, higher background omega-3 intakes, and the concurrent use of modern pharmacotherapy for CVD prevention. At least one of these caveats is being assessed in major clinical trials, with two omega-3 PUFA pharmacological agents being tested at doses of 4 g/day (instead of the more common <1 g/day). These null findings, however, do not necessarily mean that omega-3 PUFAs "are ineffective" in general, only that they were not effective in the context in which they were tested. Accordingly, higher intakes of omega-3 PUFAs, either from fatty fish or from supplements, if continued for decades (as the epidemiological data support) are likely to contribute towards lower risk for CVD. At this time, evidence supports the consumption of a healthy dietary pattern with at least two servings per week of fatty fish. Omega-3 PUFA supplementation is a reasonable alternative for those who do not consume fish, although fish is the preferred source of omega-3 PUFAs because it also provides additional nutrients, some of which are often under-consumed.
Conducting omega-3 clinical trials with cardiovascular outcomes: Proceedings of a workshop held at ISSFAL 2014
- Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and essential fatty acids
- Published over 3 years ago
In contrast to earlier long-chain (LC) omega-3 (i.e. EPA and DHA) investigations, some recent studies have not demonstrated significant effects of EPA and DHA on cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes. The neutral findings may have been due to experimental design issues, such as: maintenance on aggressive cardiovascular drug treatment overshadowing the benefits of LC omega-3s, high background LC omega-3 intake, too few subjects in the study, treatment duration too short, insufficient LC omega-3 dosage, increase in omega-6 fatty acid intake during the study, failure to assess the LC omega-3 status of the subjects prior to and during treatment and lack of clarity concerning which mechanisms were expected to produce benefits. At the 11th ISSFAL Congress, a workshop was held on conducting LC omega-3 clinical trials with cardiovascular outcomes, with the goal of gaining a better understanding concerning aspects of experimental design that should be considered when planning clinical studies related to EPA and DHA and potential cardiovascular benefits.