What is the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels)?

Updated: Dec 19, 2019
  • Author: Mary Ellen T Sweeney, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Omega-3 fatty acids are attractive because of their low risk of major adverse effects or interaction with other medications. At very high doses (≥4 g/d), triglycerides are reduced. The triglyceride-lowering impact of fish oils is entirely dependent on the omega-3 content, and, therefore, the number of capsules required for a total dose of 4 g/d requires determining the content of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) per capsule. Nonprescription fish oil supplements vary in concentration from approximately 0.4 g to 1 g of EPA and DHA per capsule, and there have not been clinical trials to determine the optimal dose and efficacy. The EPA and DHA contained in the supplement fish oil versions vary widely between products. Therefore, a minimum dose of 4 g of omega-3 fatty acids per day may require at least 8-12 capsules/day. [67]


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