The effect of lean fish consumption on triglyceride levels

Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Apr;37(1):37-43. doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.04.1681.


Marine omega-3 fatty acids have an important role in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). The American Heart Association recommends 1 g/day of omega-3 fatty acids for patients with CAD, and for those without CAD, the consumption of a variety of fish (preferably fatty fish) at least twice a week is recommended. Greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (4 g per day) are recommended to treat hypertriglyceridemia. Fish oil capsules are often needed to provide the greater quantities of omega-3 fatty acids necessary to treat hypertriglyceridemia, which should not obscure the important triglyceride-lowering effects of seafood consumption. The effects of fish consumption on plasma lipids and lipoproteins are well described in studies that have generally been conducted with fatty fish and fish oil capsules. This study of a group of men and women in a strictly controlled dietary setting showed that compared with a cholesterol-free diet, both lean fish and beef diets raised plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, but the fish diet resulted in lower levels of plasma total cholesterol, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides, and VLDL cholesterol, while the beef diet resulted in higher plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. These findings can help practitioners to extend their dietary recommendations to incorporate significant quantities of low-fat fish to reduce triglyceride levels.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cattle*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diet therapy
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Fishes*
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / diet therapy*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils
  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides