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DHA-rich fish oil reverses the detrimental effects of saturated fatty acids on postprandial vascular reactivity

Newens, K. J., Thompson, A. K., Jackson, K. G. ORCID:, Wright, J. and Williams, C. M. (2011) DHA-rich fish oil reverses the detrimental effects of saturated fatty acids on postprandial vascular reactivity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94 (3). pp. 742-748. ISSN 1938-3207

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009233


Background: Experimental elevation of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) impairs endothelial function, but the effect of NEFA composition is unknown. Objective: The objective was to test the effect of acute elevation of NEFAs enriched with either saturated fatty acids (SFAs) or SFAs with long-chain (LC) n−3 (omega-3) PUFAs on vascular function measured via flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), laser Doppler iontophoresis (LDI), and digital volume pulse (DVP). Design: In 59 subjects (30 men and 29 women), repeated oral fat feeding of either palm stearin (SFA) or palm stearin with DHA-rich fish oil (SFA + LC n−3 PUFA) was performed on 2 separate occasions with continuous heparin infusion to elevate NEFAs for a duration of 60 to 240 min. Vascular function was measured at baseline and at the end of NEFA elevation; venous blood was collected for measurement of lipids and circulating markers of endothelial function. Results: NEFA elevation during consumption of the SFA-rich drinks was associated with a marked impairment of FMD, whereas consumption of SFAs + LC n−3 PUFAs improved FMD response, with a mean (±SEM) difference of 2.06 ± 0.29% (P < 0.001). Positive correlations were found with percentage weight of LC n−3 PUFAs in circulating NEFAs and change in FMD response [Spearman's rho (rs) = 0.460, P < 0.001]. LDI measures increased during both treatments (P ≤ 0.026), and there was no change in DVP indexes. Conclusions: The composition of NEFAs can acutely affect FMD. The beneficial effect of LC n−3 PUFAs on postprandial vascular function warrants further investigation but may be mediated by nitric oxide–independent mechanisms. This trial is registered at as NCT01351324.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR)
ID Code:22998
Publisher:American Society for Nutrition

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