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Omega-3s Reviews and Research

Total of 26 Sources
Supplement: n-3 Fatty Acids: Recommendations for Therapeutics and Prevention
by Sharon R. Akabas, et al.
Our AssessmentThis journal supplement includes 10 different articles describing the benefits and usage of omega-3 fatty acids (also called n-3 fatty acids) in various health conditions. These include pregnancy and lactation, cognitive and visual development, cardiovascular disease, dementia, metabolic syndrome and inflammation. In addition, articles explain dietary sources of omega-3s and the optimum amounts to consume. The workshop summary is an excellent overview of the currently known benefits of these fatty acids and highlights areas where further research is necessary.
2. The New England Journal of Medicine
June 23, 2011
n-3 Fatty Acids in Cardiovascular Disease
by Raffaele De Caterina
Our Assessment
3. American Family Physician
Aug. 15, 2009
Dietary Fatty Acids
by Brett White
Our AssessmentThis article provides a good overview of the various types of fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats. In addition, the author describes the various health effects that consuming each type of fat can cause, highlighting in particular the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Lipids in Health and Disease
Aug. 10, 2009
Are All n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Created Equal?
by Breanne M. Anderson and David W.L. Ma
Our AssessmentAs explained here, the three main types of n-3 fatty acids, also known as omega-3s, are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While there's substantial research on EPA and DHA, there's limited data available as to whether ALA has the same effects.
Practical Applications of Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids) in Primary Care
by Robert Oh
Our AssessmentThis review compiles the results of human clinical trials on the use of fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids, that have been performed over the past three decades. Notably, omega-3s have been shown to help decrease mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease at doses of 1 gram of fish oil per day. Higher doses of 3 grams per day can lower high triglycerides and help reduce the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, some evidence suggests prenatal and postnatal benefits of fish oil with regard to infant growth and development, specifically the eyes and brain.
6. American Family Physician
July 1, 2004
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
by Maggie B. Covington
Our AssessmentIn this overview of omega-3 fatty acids, the author explains the difference between omega-6s and omega-3s, their dietary sources and their importance in body chemistry. She also highlights the significant studies that have shown omega-3 fatty acids to be beneficial in treating cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, rheumatoid arthritis and, to a lesser extent, hypertension. Included is the American Heart Association's recommended intakes for these nutrients.
National Nutrient Database
Our AssessmentThis database allows you to search for nearly any food and determine its nutritional content. With the ability to vary the serving size and cooking method, you can find precise information on how much eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid is in a given type of fish or other food.
8. Mayo Clinic Proceedings
March 2008
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Cardioprotection
by John H. Lee, et al.
Our AssessmentIn this review, authors compile data from multiple trials to examine the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on reducing cardiovascular events. It also proposes mechanisms of action for the cardioprotective effects of omega-3s, and discusses the need for further study to determine if eicosapentaenoic acid or docosahexaenoic acid is responsible.
Efficacy and Safety of Prescription Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Prevention of Recurrent Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation
by Peter R. Kowey, et al.
Our AssessmentThis study compares the efficacy of prescription omega-3 fatty acids, Lovaza, against a placebo in preventing recurrent symptomatic atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with persistent or paroxysmal (comes and goes) AF without any other heart disease. Despite previous studies that show some benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in preventing AF, in this study Lovaza had no effect at all. However, the study demonstrates that Lovaza was safe and caused no more adverse events than the placebo. The most common adverse events were gastrointestinal upset such as nausea and diarrhea.
10. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
March 15, 2007
Prescription Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Treatment of Hypertriglyceridemia
by James M. McKenney and Domenic Sica
Our AssessmentHere authors review the relevant studies on Lovaza, and its efficacy in treating hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides) and coronary heart disease. While Lovaza -- at the time of this study named Omacor -- has been effective in reducing high triglyceride levels in blood serum, it has also been shown to double the efficacy of statins like atorvastatin, also known as Lipitor. In addition, Lovaza may reduce the risk of recurrent events in coronary heart disease. It's as safe as a placebo, with the most common side effects being burping, nausea and a "fishy taste." Further study is needed to see if Lovaza can help prevent coronary heart disease.
11. Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Aug. 2011
Long Chain Omega-3 Dietary Supplements: A Review of the National Library of Medicine Herbal Supplement Database
by Atanaz Zargar and Matthew K. Ito
Our AssessmentThis article reviews currently available over-the-counter (OTC) fish oil supplements to determine the average amount of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) contained in each. Cost is also analyzed to determine whether it's feasible for doctors to recommend that patients take OTC fish oil supplements instead of an omega-3 prescription. The average amount of EPA and DHA was 216 mg and 200 mg, respectively, in capsule form, whereas liquids contained twice that amount per serving. Because both cost and EPA and DHA content was highly variable from product to product, authors recommend that doctors scrutinize which omega-3 supplements they recommend to patients.
Fish, Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease -- Eat Fish or Take Fish Oil Supplement?
by Ka He
Our AssessmentIn this article, the author examines whether the health benefits of increased fish consumption can be assigned solely to the increase in omega-3s. He proposes that in addition to the fatty acids, the vitamins and minerals in fish and a decrease in other protein sources such as meat may provide a synergistic effect that decreases cardiovascular disease more than would be seen with increased omega-3 fatty acid supplementation alone.
Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Cancer Risk
by Catherine H. MacLean, et al.
Our AssessmentStudy authors review 38 articles to determine if increased intake of omega-3s has any effect on the incidence of cancer. Their assessment finds that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is unlikely to prevent cancer of any kind.
14. Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Feb. 2010
Effects of Prescription Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters on Non-High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol When Coadministered With Escalating Doses of Atorvastatin
by Harold E. Bays, et al.
Our AssessmentThis study examines the effects of prescription omega-3-acid ethyl esters, also known as Lovaza, on cholesterol when given with atorvastatin, or Lipitor. Lovaza was found to significantly reduce the non-HDL "bad" cholesterol by 6.5 percent more than taking atorvastatin alone. In addition, study authors found no significant side effects related to taking Lovaza.
15. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Not dated
Omega 3
by Various authors
Our AssessmentDesigned for both health care providers and consumers, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database includes evidence-based information on various minerals, supplements and natural products. It lists more than 400 omega-3 supplements and provides basic information, plus allows viewers to research their effectiveness on various health conditions, and check their interactions with other drugs and natural products. Also listed are products that have been verified by the United States Pharmacopeia.
Dietary Supplements
by USP staff
Our AssessmentThe United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a nonprofit organization that sets standards for dietary supplements and provides product verification services to manufacturers. Supplements that are USP-verified have been tested to confirm the ingredients and their potency, and that they aren't contaminated. Products that pass the verification process are marked with the USP symbol.
17. Consumer Lab
Oct. 3, 2011
Product Review: Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements (EPA and DHA from Fish, Algae and Krill)
by Editors of ConsumerLab.com
Our AssessmentThis website provides clear and concise information on what omega-3 supplements are, their reported health uses and the clinical studies that either back or refute the claims. Editors provide independent quality testing of various omega-3 products (at the companies' request and for a fee) and report their findings, including suggested dosages and possible side effects.
18. Mayo Clinic
Not dated
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil, Alpha-Linolenic Acid
by Editors of MayoClinic.com
Our AssessmentMayoClinic.com provides a great overview on omega-3 fatty acids that includes a helpful breakdown and rating of the evidence for their use in various health conditions. Safety and dosing are also discussed.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health
by ODS
Our AssessmentThe Office of Dietary Supplements -- a division of the National Institutes of Health -- strives to "strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements," according to its mission statement. Staff members provide dietary supplement fact sheets, including this one for omega-3 fatty acids. It summarizes eight reviews on omega-3s, and the evidence for and against their usefulness in treating various health conditions.
20. MedlinePlus
Aug. 11, 2011
Fish Oil
by U.S. National Library of Medicine
Our AssessmentProvided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this extensive overview of fish oil includes its effectiveness, method of action and safety, and evidence for or against its use in various health conditions. Also discussed are suggested dosages and possible interactions with other medications, herbs and supplements.
21. WebMD.com
March 30, 2011
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fact Sheet
by Brunilda Nazario
Our AssessmentWebMD provides a concise overview of omega-3 fatty acids. It includes potential health benefits and sources of the supplement, as well as what to keep in mind when trying to increase your intake of these fatty acids.
Omega-3 Supplements: An Introduction
Our AssessmentHere this division of the National Institutes of Health outlines the benefits of omega-3 supplements. The research is distilled down to the essentials, providing helpful information if you're considering taking omega-3s.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
by Steven D. Ehrlich
Our AssessmentThis website provides an overview of omega-3s, and details the research for and against their use in various health conditions. Also listed are various sources of the fats and what precautions should be taken when using supplements.
24. Bone
Sept. 2011
Consumption of Different Sources of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids by Growing Female Rats Affects Long Bone Mass and Microarchitecture
by Robin Lukas, et al.
Our AssessmentEven though this study is performed on rats and not humans, it's one of the few that compares the effects of different omega-3 sources -- flaxseed oil, krill oil, menhaden oil, salmon oil and tuna oil -- both to each other and an omega-6 source, corn oil. While those oils with a high alpha-linolenic acid content improved microarchitecture of bone, increased bone mass occurred with oils higher in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) like tuna oil. The only oil high in EPA and DHA that didn't show this effect was krill oil. This study shows the potential need for various sources of omega-3 fatty acids to maximize health benefits. Similar studies need to be conducted in humans to determine if certain omega-3 fats have more effect on health benefits than others.
When to Take Statins; Lovaza Versus OTC Fish Oil Supplements
by Larissa DeDea
Our AssessmentThis brief article highlights the differences between the prescription Lovaza and over-the-counter omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The author emphasizes reading labels carefully and looking for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal, which ensures the supplement has been "tested for purity, quality and batch consistency," as well as possible contaminants.
8 Easy Ways to Load Up on Healthy Omega-3 Fats
by Sarah Baldauf and Kurtis Hiatt
Our AssessmentRather than looking at supplements, this article lists various food items that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Authors highlight the best seafood and vegetarian sources, but don't always specify which omega-3s -- alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid or docosahexaenoic acid -- are prevalent in each.
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