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Supplements of salmon fish oil can cause a decrease in oxidative stress in middle-aged adults

3 June 2015

A new study conducted by Pase et al. at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne has found that supplements of salmon fish oil can cause a decrease in oxidative stress in middle-aged adults. Over the years, fish oil supplements have become increasingly popular as they boast numerous health benefits including better cardiovascular and neurological outcomes. This is thought to be due to the fact that they contain long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFAs), which in increased levels balance the ratio of n-3/n-6 PUFAs. This causes a decrease in inflammation of cells and therefore is an aid in treating cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is also thought that n-3 PUFAs may have some anti-oxidant effects. This research looked into the outcome of combining a fish oil supplement with a multivitamin tablet, which is known to interact with the fatty acid metabolism, to see their effect on the overall levels of n-3 PUFAs in vivo.

The study comprised 160 participants (male and female) between the ages of 50 and 70 who were all in good health. They were subjected to a randomised, double blind placebo controlled test that took place over a 16 week period. The participants were randomly assigned into one of four treatment groups that received either; a placebo; a multivitamin and 3g of salmon oil; a multivitamin and 6g of salmon oil or just 6g of salmon oil. The participants took a tablet a day and attended 3 testing sessions throughout the 16 week trial.

The study assessed a number of blood biomarkers, including the levels of the different PUFAs in the blood as well as the levels of F-2 isoprostane. This is considered a reliable marker of in vivo lipid per oxidative damage, a common marker for oxidative stress and CVD.

The results found that the ratio of n-3 to n-6 PUFA’s decreased in all treatment groups compared to the placebo. More importantly however, it found that 6g of salmon oil, with or without an accompanying multivitamin, will reduce the levels of F-2 isoprostane in blood plasma. The group receiving 3g of salmon oil daily saw no effect on these levels and therefore the dosage of fish oil has a significant effect on its anti-oxidant effects. In comparison to the placebo, there were no signs of the treatment having any effects on inflammation, cholesterol or triacylglycerol levels.

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