NYMC Faculty Publications

Fish Oil And Cardiometabolic Diseases: Recent Updates And Controversies

Journal Title

The American Journal of Medicine

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Document Type


Publication Date

October 2019




Fatty acids derived from fish oil are long chain omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids. The important polyunsaturated fatty acids of fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. For decades, there has been a debate about the use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements and their benefits on cardiovascular health. The more recent trials including the JELIS, REDUCE-IT, VITAL, STRENGTH, and the ASCEND trials addressed the paucity of data of omega-3 Fatty acids on primary as well as secondary prevention of cardiovascular events and risk-benefit balance of these supplements. Prior to these studies, many large randomized controlled trials have shown conflicting results on the effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with prior coronary artery disease, stroke or major vascular events. These inconsistent results warrant a better understanding of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the subtypes of cardiovascular diseases, and their use in primary and secondary prevention. More recently, the REDUCE-IT study showed a possible protective benefit of fish oil supplements (in purified form and higher than normal doses) in the reduction of Triglyceride levels. It is also noteworthy that omega-3 fatty acids have found their mention in the most recent American College of Cardiology guidelines for the management of hypertriglyceridemia as an adjunct to statins and fibrates. The aim of this review is to discuss these recent updates on use of fish oil in cardiometabolic diseases, and their surrounding controversies.