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Introduction

      Since the early 1980s, marine omega-3 fatty acids have been touted to reduce cardiovascular risk. This initial enthusiasm was based on epidemiologic data from Greenland Eskimos who demonstrated a marked reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease despite a high-fat diet. Greenland Eskimos with a very high consumption of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) demonstrated low triglyceride (TG) levels and increased bleeding times.
      • Dyerberg J.
      • Bank H.O.
      Haemostatic function and platelet polyunsaturated fatty acids in Eskimos.
      High EPA and DHA consumption were later shown to lower TG levels and increase bleeding time and, in animal models, reduce the development of atherosclerosis.
      • Phillipson B.E.
      • Rothrock D.W.
      • Connor W.E.
      • Harris W.S.
      • Illingworth D.R.
      Reduction of plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and apoproteins by dietary fish oils in patients with hypertriglyceridemia.
      These findings led to the popular use of omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements as potential aids in reducing the risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it was found that consumption of large quantities of omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements was necessary to affect CAD risk factors.
      • Davidson M.H.
      • Burns J.H.
      • Subbaiah P.V.
      • Conn M.E.
      • Drennan K.B.
      Marine oil capsule therapy for the treatment of hyperlipidemia.
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      References

        • Dyerberg J.
        • Bank H.O.
        Haemostatic function and platelet polyunsaturated fatty acids in Eskimos.
        Lancet. 1979; 2: 433-435
        • Phillipson B.E.
        • Rothrock D.W.
        • Connor W.E.
        • Harris W.S.
        • Illingworth D.R.
        Reduction of plasma lipids, lipoproteins, and apoproteins by dietary fish oils in patients with hypertriglyceridemia.
        N Engl J Med. 1985; 312: 1210-1216
        • Davidson M.H.
        • Burns J.H.
        • Subbaiah P.V.
        • Conn M.E.
        • Drennan K.B.
        Marine oil capsule therapy for the treatment of hyperlipidemia.
        Arch Intern Med. 1991; 151: 1732-1740
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        Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease.
        Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003; 23: 151-152