Are there over-the-counter omega-3 supplements containing DHA/EPA which can lower fasting triglyceride levels if elevated?

Print
PDF

I have addressed this topic in a recent brief article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (pg. 177 of the September 11th issue, 2007) as available on the website for the CMAJ. In this brief article entitled ‘Treating Hypertriglyceridemia’, it was pointed out that calculations from 65 intervention trials as reviewed by Dr. Harris (Am. J. Clin Nutr., 65:1645S-1654S (1997)) indicated that fasting plasma triglyceride levels could be reduce by 25-30% in people with the baseline fasting triglyceride level ranging from 1.70-2.82 mmol/L (150-250 %) who take 3000 mg of supplemental DHA/EPA (combined) per day over a period of approximately 4 weeks. It was also pointed out that the American Heart Association states, that for individuals with hypertriglyceridemia, 2000-4000 mg DHA/EPA per day provided as supplements under physicians care, are recommended for consideration. In many of the clinical trials performed showing triglyceride lowerings of 25-30% and sometimes more in individuals with elevated triglyceride levels, the supplements employed have been identical to those available as over-the-counter products. In general, the published evidence suggests that DHA and EPA each have similar triglyceride-lowering potential when equal amounts of these have been compared in published studies. Thus, a mixture of DHA/EPA at a dose equal to DHA or EPA alone would be expected to produce similar magnitudes of triglyceride-lowering.