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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 303456, 15 pages
Review Article

The Role of Long-Chained Marine N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Cardiovascular Disease

1Department of Medicine, Stavanger University Hospital, 4011 Stavanger, Norway
2Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
3Department of Heart Disease, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway
4Department of Cardiology, Stavanger University Hospital, 4011 Stavanger, Norway

Received 10 June 2012; Revised 11 October 2012; Accepted 25 October 2012

Academic Editor: Frederic Kontny

Copyright © 2012 Hildegunn Aarsetoey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper reviews the current evidence regarding long-chained marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), their possible mechanisms of action, and results of clinical trials. Also, primary and secondary prevention trials as studies on antiarrhythmic effects and meta-analyses are summarized. However, the individual bioavailability of n-3 PUFAs along with the highly different study designs and estimations of FAs intake or supplementation dosages in patient populations with different background intake of n-3 PUFAs might be some of the reasons for the inconsistent findings of the studies evaluating the impact of n-3 PUFAs on CVD. The question of an optimum dose of n-3 PUFAs or whether there exists a dose-response relation for n-3 PUFA supplementation is widely discussed. Moreover, the difficulties in interpreting meta-analyses are clearly demonstrated by two recently published meta-analyses (Rizos et al. and Delgado Lista et al.), evaluating the efficacy of n-3 PUFAs on CVD, including 12 common studies, but drawing opposite conclusions. We definitely need more large-scale, randomized clinical trials of long duration, also reporting harmful effects of n-3 PUFAs.