The effect of various intakes of omega 3 fatty acids on the blood lipid composition in healthy human subjects

Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Sep;34(9):1752-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/34.9.1752.


In a study with 52 healthy volunteers, the effect of different amounts of omega 3 fatty acids on the blood lipid composition was investigated. Doses of 1.4, 2.3, 4.1, and 8.2 g of omega 3 fatty acids were administered to these subjects daily over a period of 4 wk. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total triglycerides, and glucose were determined in blood serum and hemoglobin in whole blood in all individuals before, during, and after the intake of omega 3 fatty acids. In pooled serum samples, the lipoprotein composition and the fatty acid composition of blood lipids were determined. All dosages caused a shift in the fatty acid composition of blood serum lipids in a favor of omega 3 fatty acids and at the expense of omega 6 and/or omega 9 acids. In the sterol esters, only the percentage of C20:5 omega 3 increased. Maximum shifts depended on the amount of omega 3 acids ingested and were evident within 1 to 2 wk. Two wk after the last ingestion of omega 3 acids, the fatty acid composition of blood serum lipids had returned to the original state. In the groups receiving 8.2 of omega 3 fatty acids, there was a significant decrease in serum triglyceride and very low-density lipoprotein levels, which is in accord with earlier observations. In the other parameters, including cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, no decrease or increase was observed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Hemoglobins
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol