Effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on arterial elasticity in patients with familial hypercholesterolaemia on statin therapy

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2016 Dec;26(12):1140-1145. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2016.07.012. Epub 2016 Aug 3.


Background and aims: Increased arterial stiffness is closely linked with raised blood pressure that contributes substantially to enhanced risk of coronary heart disease in high risk individuals with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). Omega-3 fatty acid (ω3-FA) supplementation has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in subjects with a high cardiovascular disease risk. Whether ω3-FA supplementation improves arterial stiffness in FH subjects, on background statin therapy, has yet to be investigated.

Method and results: We carried out an 8-week randomized, crossover intervention trial to test the effect of 4 g/d ω3-FA supplementation (46% eicosapentaenoic acid and 38% docosahexaenoic acid) on arterial elasticity in 20 adults with FH on optimal cholesterol-lowering therapy. Large and small artery elasticity were measured by pulse contour analysis of the radial artery. ω3-FA supplementation significantly (P < 0.05 in all) increased large artery elasticity (+9%) and reduced systolic blood pressure (-6%) and diastolic blood pressure (-6%), plasma triglycerides (-20%), apoB concentration (-8%). In contrast, ω3-FAs had no significant effect on small artery elasticity. The change in large artery elasticity was not significantly associated with changes in systolic blood pressure or plasma triglyceride concentration.

Conclusions: ω3-FA supplementation improves large arterial elasticity and arterial blood pressure independent of statin therapy in adults with FH.

Clinical trial registration: https://www.clinicaltrials.com/NCT01577056.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Diet and nutrition; Genetics; Hypercholesterolaemia; Vascular dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Apolipoprotein B-100 / blood
  • Arterial Pressure / drug effects
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Ezetimibe / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / blood
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / diagnosis
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vascular Stiffness / drug effects*
  • Western Australia


  • APOB protein, human
  • Apolipoprotein B-100
  • Biomarkers
  • Drug Combinations
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Omacor
  • Ezetimibe

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01577056