Omega-3 fatty acids and hypertriglyceridemia in HIV-infected subjects on antiretroviral therapy: systematic review and meta-analysis

HIV Clin Trials. 2011 Sep-Oct;12(5):268-74. doi: 10.1310/hct1205-268.


Purpose: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) changed the course of AIDS. However, it has been associated with chronic metabolic complications including hypertriglyceridemia. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the effects of marine omega-3 fatty acids in triglycerides concentrations of HIV-infected subjects on ART.

Methods: Thirty-three articles were found in a PubMed search; 6 met the inclusion criteria, and 4 of them were considered of adequate quality and included. Meta-analysis with fixed effects was performed and weighted mean differences (WMD; 95% CI) were described.

Results: The overall reduction of triglycerides concentrations after 8 to 16 weeks of treatment with 900 to 3360 mg omega-3/day was WMD -80.34 mg/dL (95% CI, -129.08 to -31.60). Short-term (4 to 8 weeks) and a long-term (12 to 16 weeks) interventions were associated with a WMD -134.36 mg/dL (95% CI, -208.04 to -60.69) and WMD -54.09 mg/dL (95% CI, -115.77 to 7.59), respectively. The pooled result of studies with mean triglycerides ≥300 mg/dL at baseline and 1800 to 2900 mg omega-3/day was WMD -129.72 mg/dL (95% CI, -206.54 to -52.91).

Conclusion: Different doses of omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduce triglycerides concentrations, confirming the potential applicability of this nutrient on the management of hypertriglyceridemia in HIV-infected subjects on ART.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / adverse effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / chemically induced
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Triglycerides