Can fish oil supplementation improve endothelial function in asymptomatic offspring of patients with peripheral arterial disease?

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Background: Peripheral arterial disease affects 10%-25% of adults aged.55 years, and while a multitude of risk factors exist, one key influence is genetics. Rather than awaiting the onset of debilitating symptoms, interventions that target high-risk individuals and prevent or delay the onset of symptoms would have widespread impact. The aim of this study is to implement a 12-week fish oil intervention (10 mL/day containing approximately 1.5 g of eicosapentaenoic acid and 1 g of docosahexaenoic acid), with the intention of improving endothelial function, inflammation, and lipid status in a high-risk population, ie, those with impaired endothelial function and a parent with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease. Methods: This is a parallel-group, double-blind, randomized controlled trial involving administration of fish oil containing either about 1.5 g of docosahexaenoic acid and 1 g of docosahexaenoic acid (intervention) or about 0.15 g of eicosapentaenoic acid and about 0.1 g of docosahexaenoic acid for 12 consecutive weeks (control). The participants are 100 offspring of adults with diagnosed peripheral arterial disease who themselves have an ankle-brachial pressure index ≥0.9 but impaired endothelial function according to peripheral arterial tonometry. Measures performed at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks include flow-mediated dilatation, C-reactive protein, absolute neutrophil and lymphocyte counts, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1ß, and interleukin-6 levels, thromboxane and prostacyclin, lipid status, and homocysteine, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Participants will be phoned fortnightly to monitor adherence and side effects, while participants will maintain a diary of fish oil consumption on a daily basis, and fish oil returned will be measured to confirm adherence. Participants will complete validated surveys to determine background diet and physical activity levels. Discussion: This study will examine the effectiveness of a moderate-dose fish oil intervention in reversing endothelial dysfunction in asymptomatic offspring of patients with peripheral arterial disease. It provides the opportunity to delay the progression of peripheral arterial disease using a cheap and readily available dietary supplement that has minimal side effects compared with synthetic vasoactive pharmacological medications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalOpen Access Journal of Clinical Trials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Endothelial function
  • Fatty acids
  • Omega
  • Peripheral arterial disease


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