The beneficial effects of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acid supplementation on red blood cell rheology

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1999 Jul;61(1):13-7. doi: 10.1054/plef.1999.0066.


Twenty healthy, non-smoking subjects were enrolled into a study to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation with essential fatty acid (EFAs) on red blood cell rheology. Ten subjects were given 3 months dietary supplementation with long chain polyunsaturated EFAs containing omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs while 10 others were given placebo (sunflower oil). Venous sampling was performed at 0 and 12 weeks and red blood cell (RBC) aggregation and deformability measured by a filtration system. The results showed a reduction in RBC aggregation in the group given omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs but not in the placebo group. This may be related to changes in the RBC membrane and surface receptor characteristics. Such EFAs may be useful in Raynaud's phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Erythrocyte Aggregation / drug effects
  • Erythrocyte Deformability / drug effects
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Erythrocytes / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hemorheology / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Placebos