Omega-3 fatty acids in coronary heart disease: Recent updates and future perspectives

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2019 Jan;46(1):11-18. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.13034. Epub 2018 Oct 16.


Incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) increases worldwide with varying etiological factors. In addition to the control of risk factors, dietary modification has been recommended to reduce the prevalence. Omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids (FAs), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), of fish oil are beneficial for the prevention of CHD. The effect can be ascribed to anti-inflammatory, vasodilating, antiarrhythmic, antihypertensive activities and lowering of triacyl glycerol level. The American Heart Association advises two fish meals per week in subjects without CHD or supplementation of 1 g of EPA plus DHA per day in subjects with CHD. Despite the beneficial effects of EPA/DHA reported in some of the clinical trials, results of many others were inconsistent that can be ascribed to short duration of studies, low doses of ω-3 FAs, variations in the EPA:DHA ratio, selection of patients with different risk factors or interaction of ω-3 FAs with drugs used in the therapy. Therefore, well designed clinical trials in various populations are warranted. This article discusses the current situation and future prospective of ω-3 FAs in CHD.

Keywords: coronary heart disease; cyclooxygenase; lipoxygenase; myocardial infarction; omega-3 fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Humans


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3