Fish consumption and cardiovascular disease related biomarkers: A review of clinical trials

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(13):2061-2071. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1437388. Epub 2018 Mar 13.


The purpose of this review is to collect and compare fish intervention studies. Prospective studies have outlined the beneficial effect of frequent fish consumption on cardiovascular incidents that is attributed to n-3 fatty acids incorporated in fish, mainly eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. This outcome triggered clinical trials to examine the effect of either fish intake or consumption of n-3 fatty acids via capsules on biomarkers related to cardiovascular disease (CVD). The absence of a recent review focusing on clinical trials regarding fish intake and not n-3 fatty acids supplements rendered necessary the composition of this article. In total, 28 studies on healthy volunteers were found to meet the inclusion criteria. With EPA and DHA intake varying between 0.03 to 5 g per day, biomarkers, such as triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein and platelet aggregation, tended to ameliorate when daily intake exceeded 1 g per day, while the most common inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, was not affected. In all, fish consumption gives promising results; yet fish micronutrients, total diet fat, as well as other dietary habits may also affect biomarkers. Therefore, all these factors should be considered in future clinical trials in order for one to draw more reliable conclusions.

Keywords: Fish consumption; cardiovascular disease; clinical trial; inflammation; n-3 fatty acids; thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Lipoproteins
  • Seafood*
  • Thrombosis
  • Triglycerides


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils
  • Lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid