Omega-3 fatty acids: a comprehensive review of their role in health and disease
- 1Department of Medicine, Melaka Manipal Medical College, Melaka, Malaysia
- 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Melaka Manipal Medical College, Melaka, Malaysia
- 3Department of Community Medicine, Melaka Manipal Medical College, Melaka, Malaysia
- Dr J M Pappachan, Department of Medicine, Melaka Manipal Medical College, 75150, Melaka, Malaysia;
- Received 16 July 2008
- Accepted 20 October 2008
Omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3 FAs) are essential fatty acids with diverse biological effects in human health and disease. Reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is a well-established benefit of their intake. Dietary supplementation may also benefit patients with dyslipidaemia, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, obesity, inflammatory diseases, neurological/ neuropsychiatric disorders and eye diseases. Consumption of ω-3 FAs during pregnancy reduces the risk of premature birth and improves intellectual development of the fetus. Fish, fish oils and some vegetable oils are rich sources of ω-3 FAs. According to the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition guidelines (2004), a healthy adult should consume a minimum of two portions of fish a week to obtain the health benefit. This review outlines the health implications, dietary sources, deficiency states and recommended allowances of ω-3 FAs in relation to human nutrition.
- omega-3 fatty acids
- essential fatty acids
- fish consumption
- cardiovascular benefits
- lifestyle diseases
Competing interests: None.