docosahexaenoic is fish oil's main active ingrediant

Doug Skrecky (
Sat, 5 Dec 1998 17:42:37 -0800 (PST)

McLennan P. Howe P. Abeywardena M. Muggli R. Raederstorff D. Mano M. Rayner T. Head R.
CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. Title
The cardiovascular
protective role of docosahexaenoic acid. Source
European Journal of Pharmacology. 300(1-2):83-9, 1996 Apr 4. Abstract
Dietary fish oils rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can modulate a diverse range of factors contributing to cardiovascular disease. This study examined the relative roles of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5 n-3; EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6 n-3; DHA) which are the principal n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids regarded as candidates for cardioprotective actions. At low dietary intakes (0.4-1.1% of energy (%en)), docosahexaenoic acid but not eicosapentaenoic acid inhibited ischaemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias. At intakes of 3.9-10.0%en, docosahexaenoic acid was more effective than eicosapentaenoic acid at retarding hypertension development in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and inhibiting thromboxane-like vasoconstrictor responses in aortas from SHR. In stroke-prone SHR with established hypertension, docosahexaenoic acid (3.9-10.0%en) retarded the development of salt-loading induced proteinuria but eicosapentaenoic acid alone was ineffective. The results demonstrate that purified n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids mimic the cardiovascular
actions of fish oils and imply that docosahexaenoic acid may be the principal active component conferring cardiovascular protection.