Because marine oil capsules may vary widely in their content of omega-3 fatty acids, saturated fat, and cholesterol composition and, therefore, their biologic potency, we compared the lipid-lowering effects of three representative preparations in patients with different forms of hyperlipidemia. The ester and triglyceride forms of marine oil both effectively lowered triglyceride, but the response of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was variable; it declined modestly in patients with hypercholesterolemia and was either unchanged or increased in those with hypertriglyceridemia. The saturated fat and cholesterol content of the marine oil preparation appeared to influence the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol response. Therefore, marine oil capsules are useful for lowering levels of very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, but the large dose required to achieve and sustain this effect (4.5 g of omega-3 fatty acids, or nine to 18 capsules daily) may limit long-term compliance.
(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:1732-1740)