• Enhanced dietary omega-3 fatty acid consumption is thought to be associated with a reduced incidence of atherothrombotic disorders. This effect may be mediated in part through suppression of in vivo platelet activity by omega-3 fatty acids. We observed that platelet survival, a sensitive indicator of in vivo platelet activity was prolonged from 6.4± 1.5 days to 7.7 ±1.4 days by moderate amounts of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for 6 weeks in a group of hyperlipidemic patients with preexisting, established atherothrombotic disorders. This effect on platelet survival was associated with a decrease in platelet arachidonic acid levels from 26.7%±3.5% to 20.9% ± 2.5% and a rise in platelet eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid measurements from essentially undetectable to 2.8% ± 1.6% and 1.9% ± 1.0%. Plasma total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and serum apolipoprotein B levels rose significantly during the omega-3 fatty acid supplementation period. Platelet aggregation did not change. This study demonstrates that a modest amount of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can significantly effect in vivo platelet activity in a population at high risk for recurrent atherothrombotic disorders.
(Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:1113-1116)