Omega-3 fatty acids, thrombosis and vascular disease

William S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The cardioprotective effects of long-chain, marine omega-3 fatty acids (ω3 FA) have been demonstrated in animal and human experimental studies, in epidemiological investigations and in randomized, controlled trials. In Western countries, effective intakes of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) appear to be in the 0.5–1 g/day range. The mechanism behind the ω3 FA effect is not known with certainty, but appears to involve the prevention of fatal arrhythmias associated with myocardial ischemia. The extent to which this may be secondary to ω3 FA-induced reductions in thrombotic tendencies is not known. Although the anti-thrombotic properties of larger quantities (>3 g/day) of ω3 FA have been examined, the impact of <1 g/day has not. Current evidence suggests that at very low intakes (150 mg/day of EPA) ex vivo platelet function may be inhibited, and individuals with higher blood levels of ω3 FA have lower levels of tissue plasminogen activator. On the other hand, supplementation with 800–1600 mg/day of EPA+DHA had no effect on coagulation factors. Although further research is needed, these data imply that hemostatic processes may be beneficially impacted by low intakes of ω3 FA, and CHD risk may thereby be reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-383
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Congress Series
Issue numberC
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Fish oils
  • Hemostasis
  • Platelet aggregation
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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