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Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation on inflammatory biomakers: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials

  • Oscar D. Rangel-Huerta (a1), Concepcion M. Aguilera (a1), Maria D. Mesa (a1) and Angel Gil (a1)


Inflammation is part of the normal host response to infection and injury. Eicosanoids, cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules and other inflammatory molecules are frequently produced during this process. Numerous studies in humans have documented the inflammation-limiting properties of omega-3 fatty acids, but only a few have been randomised clinical trials. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic search of randomised clinical trials on omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory biomarkers in all subjects including healthy and ill persons up to February 2011 using PubMed and LILACS databases, defined by a specific equation using MeSH terms and limited to randomised clinical trials; there was no any a priori decision to include some diseases and not others. The quality of each publication was validated by using the JADAD scale and the CONSORT checklist. Inflammatory biomarkers were considered as primary outcomes. Twenty-six publications of the last 10 years were selected. Studies included healthy subjects and patients with cardiovascular disease and other chronic and acute diseases; all reported the number of subjects, type of study, type and doses of omega-3 fatty acids, main outcomes and major inflammatory biomarkers. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids are associated with plasma biomarker levels, reflecting lower levels of inflammation and endothelial activation in cardiovascular disease and other chronic and acute diseases, including chronic renal disease, sepsis and acute pancreatitis. However, further research is required before definitive recommendations can be made about the routine use of omega-3 fatty acids in critically ill patients or with neurodegenerative or chronic renal disease.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: A. Gil, fax +34 958 248960, email


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