Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 30 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:752

Rapid Response:

Wrongly pooled

Hooper et al may have overlooked that commercial fish oil
preparations contain roughly half omega-3, the rest being other fatty
acids (about 50) many of which antagonise each other, like arachidonic
acid (AA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The latter may be the most
important omega-3 for cardiovascular health, as suggested by the largest
fish oil study sofar, JELIS.

As stressed by prof. Yokoyama´s team, arteriosclerosis is an
inflammatory condition. Charles Serhan´s team at Harvard discovered that
EPA turns in the body to Resolvin E1, a potent antiinflamatory
nanomolecule. Gao et al have found that EPA forms F3-isoprostanes, which
fight proinflammatory F2-isoprostanes, and this might be of special
importance in cardiovascular diseases.

Taken together, Hoopert el al may have thrown the baby with the wash
water by pooling together studies using different types of fish and fish
oil preparations.

Arita M, Bianchini F, Aliberti J, Sher A, Chiang N, Hong S, Yang R,
Petasis NA, Serhan CN. Stereochemical assignment, antiinflammatory
properties, and receptor for the omega-3 lipid mediator resolvin E1. J Exp
Med. 2005;201(5):713-22

Gao L, Yin H, Milne GL, et al. Formation of F-ring ispoprostane-like
compounds(F3-isoprostanes) in vivo from eicosapentaenoic acid. J Biol
Chem. 2006 Mar 28; [Epub ahead of print]

Competing interests:
I have helped launch of the first commercial E-EPA preparations in the European market.

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 April 2006
Matti J. Tolonen
Dr, med, docent
Matti Tolonen
Biomedicus S.L. E-29640 Espain