- •Increased arterial stiffness may increase risk of heart disease in individuals with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH).
- •ω3-FA supplementation improves cardiovascular outcome but its effect on arterial stiffness has not been investigated in FH.
- •We found that ω3-FA supplementation lowered blood pressures and plasma triglycerides in statin-treated FH patients.
- •Our new data also support the use of ω3-FA supplementation to improve arterial elasticity in patients with FH.
Background and aims
Increased arterial stiffness is closely linked with raised blood pressure that contributes substantially to enhanced risk of coronary heart disease in high risk individuals with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). Omega-3 fatty acid (ω3-FA) supplementation has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in subjects with a high cardiovascular disease risk. Whether ω3-FA supplementation improves arterial stiffness in FH subjects, on background statin therapy, has yet to be investigated.
Method and results
We carried out an 8-week randomized, crossover intervention trial to test the effect of 4 g/d ω3-FA supplementation (46% eicosapentaenoic acid and 38% docosahexaenoic acid) on arterial elasticity in 20 adults with FH on optimal cholesterol-lowering therapy. Large and small artery elasticity were measured by pulse contour analysis of the radial artery. ω3-FA supplementation significantly (P < 0.05 in all) increased large artery elasticity (+9%) and reduced systolic blood pressure (−6%) and diastolic blood pressure (−6%), plasma triglycerides (−20%), apoB concentration (−8%). In contrast, ω3-FAs had no significant effect on small artery elasticity. The change in large artery elasticity was not significantly associated with changes in systolic blood pressure or plasma triglyceride concentration.
ω3-FA supplementation improves large arterial elasticity and arterial blood pressure independent of statin therapy in adults with FH.
Clinical Trial Registration: https://www.clinicaltrials.com/ NCT01577056.
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Published online: August 03, 2016
Accepted: July 26, 2016
Received in revised form: July 19, 2016
Received: February 9, 2016
© 2016 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University.