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Prophylaxis of Atherosclerosis with Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Comprehensive Strategy

CLEMENS VON SCHACKY, M. D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Scha 398), the Veterans Administration, and the National Institutes of Health (HL-18828-12 SCOR and HL-36919-02).

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Clemens von Schacky, M.D., Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt der Universität München, Ziemssenstr.1, D-8000 Munich 2, West Germany.


© 1987 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(6):890-899. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-107-6-890
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Traditional approaches to prophylaxis of atherosclerosis have focused on one aspect of the pathogenesis of this multifactorial disease, such as platelet function or blood lipids, and therefore have had limited success. Epidemiologic studies show a striking inverse correlation of consumption of fish rich in the two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, and mortality from cardiovascular disease. In studies of volunteers and patients, reductions in platelet responsiveness, lowering of blood lipids, and improvements of blood flow, as well as improvements in other values implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, were induced with eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids. These findings indicate that these omega-3 fatty acids have a larger prophylactic potential than traditional approaches. This potential must be scrutinized in meticulously designed and conducted trials with clinical endpoints.

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