Cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 oils

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik Innenstadt, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München, Ziemssenstrasse 1, D-80336 Munich, Germany.
Cardiovascular Research (Impact Factor: 5.94). 02/2007; 73(2):310-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.cardiores.2006.08.019
Source: PubMed


Cardiac societies recommend the intake of 1 g/day of the two omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for cardiovascular disease prevention, treatment after a myocardial infarction, prevention of sudden death, and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. These recommendations are based on a body of scientific evidence that encompasses literally thousands of publications. Of four large scale intervention studies three also support the recommendations of these cardiac societies. One methodologically questionable study with a negative result led a Cochrane meta-analysis to a null conclusion. This null conclusion, however, has not swayed the recommendations of the cardiac societies mentioned, and has been refuted with good reason by scientific societies. Based on the scientific evidence just mentioned, we propose a new risk factor to be considered for sudden cardiac death, the omega-3 index. It is measured in red blood cells, and is expressed as a percentage of EPA + DHA of total fatty acids. An omega-3 index of >8% is associated with 90% less risk for sudden cardiac death, as compared to an omega-3 index of <4%. The omega-3 index as a risk factor for sudden cardiac death has striking similarities to LDL as a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Moreover, the omega-3 index reflects the omega-3 fatty acid status of a given individual (analogous to HbA1c reflecting glucose homeostasis). The omega-3 index can therefore be used as a goal for treatment with EPA and DHA. As is the case now for LDL, in the future, the cardiac societies might very well recommend treatment with EPA and DHA to become goal oriented (e.g. an omega-3 index>8%).

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Available from: Clemens von Schacky
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    • "Stearidonic acid [SDA; 18:4 (n-3)] is an eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) precursor that, like DOX, lowers the proliferation index and increases apoptosis in xenograft prostate cancer models [23] [24]. Additionally, SDA increases EPA accumulation in the heart and consequently is considered as a " pro-EPA " omega-3 fatty acid that, like EPA and DHA [25] [26], has cardiovascular protective benefits and lipid lowering effects [27] [28]. Ameliorating the cardiac toxicity of DOX by combination with SDA could be exploited in the treatment of HRPC. "

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    • "N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3PUFA), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3), have been reported to play roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases [1], [2]. DHA is the most abundant PUFA in the retina and brain and known to be necessary for their normal development/maturation in mammals, especially infants and children [3]–[5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), have been reported to play roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases. The major source of DHA is fish oils but a recent increase in the global demand of DHA and decrease in fish stocks require a substitute. Thraustochytrids, unicellular marine protists belonging to the Chromista kingdom, can synthesize large amounts of DHA, and, thus, are expected to be an alternative to fish oils. DHA is found in the acyl chain(s) of phospholipids as well as triacylglycerols in thraustochytrids; however, how thraustochytrids incorporate DHA into phospholipids remains unknown. We report here a novel lysophospholipid acyltransferase (PLAT1), which is responsible for the generation of DHA-containing phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine in thraustochytrids. The PLAT1 gene, which was isolated from the genomic DNA of Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b, was expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the FLAG-tagged recombinant enzyme was characterized after purification with anti-FLAG affinity gel. PLAT1 shows wide specificity for donor substrates as well as acceptor substrates in vitro, i.e, the enzyme can adopt lysophosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylserine and lysophosphatidylinositol as acceptor substrates, and 15:0/16:0-CoA and DHA-CoA as donor substrates. In contrast to the in vitro experiment, only lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase and lysophosphatidylethanolamine acyltransferase activities were decreased in plat1-knockout mutants, resulting in a decrease of 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylcholine (PC) [PC(38∶6)] and 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) [PE(38∶6)], which are two major DHA-containing phospholipids in A. limacinum F26-b. However, the amounts of other phospholipid species including DHA-DHA-PC [PC(44∶12)] and DHA-DHA-PE [PE(44∶12)] were almost the same in plat-knockout mutants and the wild-type. These results indicate that PLAT1 is the enzyme responsible for the generation of 16:0-DHA-PC and 16:0-DHA-PE in the thraustochytrid.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In animals these VLCPUFAs affect health and nutrition by regulating the expression of genes through changes in the rate of transcription or post-transcriptional modifications (Schroeder et al., 2008; Dimri et al., 2010; Barnes et al., 2012). These include neonatal retinal and brain development (Lauritzen et al., 2001; Fleith and Clandinin, 2005; Leinster et al., 2010) and cardiovascular health and disease prevention (Breslow, 2006; Von Schacky and Harris, 2007; Serini et al., 2011). Since no higher plant can synthesize these VLCPUFAs naturally, genetic modification of plants to produce these health beneficial fatty acids has been the subject of intensive research in recent years. "
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    ABSTRACT: IgASE1, a C18 Δ9-specific polyunsaturated fatty acid elongase from the marine microalga Isochrysis galbana, is able to convert linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid to eicosadienoic acid and eicosatrienoic acid in Arabidopsis. Eicosadienoic acid and eicosatrienoic acid are precursors of arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid, which are synthesized via the Δ8 desaturation biosynthetic pathways. This study shows that the IgASE1-expressing transgenic Arabidopsis exhibited altered morphology (decreased leaf area and biomass) and enhanced drought resistance compared to wild-type plants. The transgenic Arabidopsis were hypersensitive to abscisic acid (ABA) during seed germination, post-germination growth, and seedling development. They had elevated leaf ABA levels under well-watered and dehydrated conditions and their stomata were more sensitive to ABA. Exogenous application of eicosadienoic acid and eicosatrienoic acid can mimic ABA and drought responses in the wild type plants, similar to that found in the transgenic ones. The transcript levels of genes involved in the biosynthesis of ABA (NCED3, ABA1, AAO3) as well as other stress-related genes were upregulated in this transgenic line upon osmotic stress (300mM mannitol). Taken together, these results indicate that these two eicosapolyenoic acids or their derived metabolites can mitigate the effects of drought in transgenic Arabidopsis, at least in part, through the action of ABA.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Experimental Botany
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