The heart and omega-3, it’s all about nutrition!

March 20th, 2016 por


Good nutrition and eating habits as well as  nutrition therapy……… it’s all about Nutrition! Probably,  one of the things I know best in life. Thus, discussing the health of the heart and omega-3 is only one of those life particularities that I would say: “meant to be”!


So, today’s post is going to be fully dedicated to this nutrient, because I have always followed my “heart”. In this regard, destiny has stepped into my routine and has shown to me that I should go back to studying specific nutrients. I have done so with arginine, glutamine, citrulline, whey protein and also omega-3. Unfortunately, the data on omega-3, more precisely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has not yet been published but only submitted. However, these data are in patients with systemic erythematous lupus and not in particularly the “heart”. Although I am a clinician and not a basic scientist, I sustain my clinical research goals and studies with the support of basic research and epidemiology; this is to say the principle of knowledge translation. Therefore, this is what I have followed when picking the above-mentioned nutrients to study.

In the case of omega-3 fatty acids, I have gathered data from epidemiological studies of Greenland Eskimos whose diet is rich in fish, sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and they present decreased heart diseases as well as neurologic, but not only. In this population, the prevalence of diseases with an inflammatory component such as acute myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, asthma and thyrotoxicosis, was lower than the populations of Western countries [1]. Fatty acids from the omega-3 family [specially the α-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA)], as well as those of the omega-6 family, represented mainly by linoleic acid and arachidonic acid (AA)] are essential for the synthesis of eicosanoids, prostaglandins (PG), leukotrienes (LT), thromboxanes and other oxidative factors, major mediators and regulators of inflammation [2,3].

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids control inflammation by reducing C-reactive protein (CRP), pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and other inflammatory biomarkers [4-7]. Besides, they have beneficial effects on the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases, dyslipidemia and diabetes mellitus [8-13].

Interestingly, I have lectured much on omega-3 and cancer treatment but, nothing on heart disease. However, like many other things in my life, totally against what I once had expected, this again brings paradigm reassessing. Not the first time, though, as in fact and curiously, many of my published manuscripts have been with advanced liver disease, an entity I would rather not know much about, due to personal reasons. But life is a little “magic box”!

So, in the quest for what I believe,  here I am,  wondering if I should not invest more on to the effects of omega-3 and the heart! Nonetheless, somehow, I started covering the subject with  one of our last year’s paper that addressed the heart, more precisely, heart rate variability as a potential aid in the field of nutrition assessment. Destiny? No….simply it is!

Nutrition is life, can help prevent and treat diseases, but mostly it nourishes the soul and the body, thus the heart and,  here lies the reason for good nutrition and eating habits, something I have also addressed in most of my  extension activities in the University!  It’s all about life! This is why dinner yesterday was salmon – rich in omega-3! I will sometime later post the recipe of the whole preparation: salmon with lemon sauce and risotto with cocoa nibs, served with orange salad! Exotic and delicious!


  1. Kronmann N, Green A. Epidemiological studies in the Upernavik district, Greenland: incidence of some chronic diseases 1950-1974. Acta Med Scand 1980; 208:401-6.
  2. Bhangle S, Kolasinski SL. Fish oil in rheumatic diseases. Rheum Dis Clin N Am 2011; 37:77-84.
  1. Tilley SL, Coffman TM, Koller BH. Mixed messages: modulation of inflammation and immune responses by prostaglandins and thromboxanes. J Clin Invest 2001, 108:15-23.
  2. Schwab JM, Serhan CN. Lipoxins and new lipid mediators in the resolution of inflammation. Curr Opin Pharmacol 2006; 6:414-20.
  1. Thies F,Miles EANebe-von-Caron GPowell JRHurst TLNewsholme EACalder PC. Influence of dietary supplementation with long-chain n-3 or n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids on blood inflammatory cell populations and fuctions and on plasma soluble adhesion molecules in health adults. Lipids 2001; 36:1183-93.
  1. Trebble T,Arden NKStroud MAWootton SABurdge GCMiles EABallinger ABThompson RLCalder PC. Inhibition of tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 production by mononuclear cells following dietary fish-oil supplementation in healthy men and response to antioxidant co-supplementation. Brit J Nutr 2003; 90:405-12.
  1. Wallace FA, Miles EA, Calder PC. Comparison of the effects of linseed oil and different doses of fish oil on mononuclear cell function in healthy human subjects. Brit J Nutr 2003; 89:679-89.
  1. Cawood AL,Ding RNapper FLYoung RHWilliams JAWard MJGudmundsen OVige RPayne SPYe SShearman CPGallagher PJGrimble RFCalder PC. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from highly concentrated n-3 fatty acid ethyl esters is incorporated into advanced atherosclerotic plaques and higher plaque EPA is associated with decreased plaque inflammation and increased stability. Atherosclerosis 2010; 20:252-59.
  1. Skulas-Ray AC,Kris-Etherton PMHarris WSVanden Heuvel JPWagner PRWest SG. Dose-response effects of omega-3 fatty acids on triglycerides, inflammation, and endothelial function in healthy persons with moderate hypertriglyceridemia. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 93:243.
  1. Udupa AS, Nahar PS, Shah SH, Kshirsagar MJ, Ghongane BB. Study of comparative effects os antioxidants on insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Clin Diagn Res 2012; 6:1469-73.
  1. Browning LM,Krebs JDMoore CSMishra GDO’Connell MAJebb SA.The impact of long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on inflammation, insulin sensitivity and CVD risk in a group of overweight woman with an inflammatory phenotype. Diabetes Obes Metab 2007; 9:70-80.
  1. Hartweg J, Farmer AJ, Holman RR, et al. Potential impact of omega-3 treatment on cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes. Curr Opin Lipidol 2009;20:30-8.
  1. He K, Liu K, Daviglus ML, Jenny NS, Mayer-Davis E, Jiang R, Steffen L, Siscovick D, Tsai M, Herrington D. Associations of dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish with biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial activation (from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis [MESA]). Am J Cardiol 2009; 103:1238-43.
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