Dietary omega-3 EFAs produce a state of enhanced anti-aggregatory and anti-adhesive platelet activity. This is achieved by inducing increased production of the platelet-anti-aggregatory substance prostacyclin l3 and suppressing synthesis of the chemotactic platelet adhesion-promoting substance leukotriene B4 (Kinsella 1987). In animal models of arterial thrombosis, fish-oil-enriched diets have been shown to have an antithrombotic effect; however, there is evidence suggesting that this is most likely to occur when associated with reduced saturated fat intake (Hornstra 1989).
Clinical observations of Eskimos have found lowered platelet counts, inhibition of platelet aggregation and prolonged bleeding times compared with age- and sex-matched Danes. However, intervention studies using fish oil supplements have produced conflicting results (Hellsten et al 1993, Kristensen et al 1989, Radack et al 1990) and overall no significant effect is consistently seen at doses below 10 g.
Was this article helpful?