Dietary fish oil decreases C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and triacylglycerol to HDL-cholesterol ratio in postmenopausal women on HRT

J Nutr Biochem. 2003 Sep;14(9):513-21. doi: 10.1016/s0955-2863(03)00101-3.


Background: Atherogenesis is a complex process involving both a low-grade inflammation and a disturbed lipid profile. Although dietary fish and fish oil improve the latter of these two risk factors, their impact on the former is less clear.

Objective: This study addressed the effect of supplementation with fish oil in doses achievable with diet on serum C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the lipid profile.

Methods and results: Thirty healthy subjects taking HRT were randomly divided into three groups and supplemented for five weeks with 14 g/day safflower oil (SO), 7 g/day of both safflower oil and fish oil (LFO), or 14 g/day fish oil (HFO). Measurements included serum high-sensitivity CRP, IL-6 in plasma and in cell culture supernatant collected from 24-hr lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated whole blood, and lipid profile markers. CRP and IL-6 were adjusted for body mass index (BMI). Fish oil supplementation significantly decreased CRP and IL-6 compared to SO, with a greater effect in the LFO than HFO groups. Plasma triacylglycerol (TG) and the TG/HDL-C ratio were significantly lower in the HFO compared to the SO group.

Conclusions: These results suggest that dietary fish oil may decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease through the modulation of both plasma lipids and inflammatory markers in healthy postmenopausal women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Postmenopause
  • Safflower Oil / administration & dosage
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fish Oils
  • Interleukin-6
  • Placebos
  • Triglycerides
  • Safflower Oil
  • C-Reactive Protein