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Harper CR, Jacobson TA. The Fats of Life: The Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(18):2185–2192. doi:10.1001/archinte.161.18.2185
Epidemiological and clinical trial evidence suggests that ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might have a significant role in the prevention of coronary heart disease. Dietary sources of ω-3 PUFA include fish oils rich in eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid along with plants rich in α-linolenic acid. Randomized clinical trials with fish oils (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) and α-linolenic acid have demonstrated reductions in risk that compare favorably with those seen in landmark secondary prevention trials with lipid-lowering drugs. Several mechanisms explaining the cardioprotective effect of ω-3 PUFAs have been suggested, including antiarrhythmic, hypolipidemic, and antithrombotic roles. Although official US guidelines for the dietary intake of ω-3 PUFAs are not available, several international guidelines have been published. Fish is an important source of ω-3 PUFAs in the US diet; however, vegetable sources, including grains and oils, offer an alternative source for those who are unable to regularly consume fish.
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