, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 109–115

Dose-Dependent Effects of Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation on Blood Lipids in Statin-Treated Hyperlipidaemic Subjects

  • Barbara J. Meyer
  • Tone Hammervold
  • Arild Chr. Rustan
  • Peter R. C. Howe
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11745-006-3014-4

Cite this article as:
Meyer, B.J., Hammervold, T., Rustan, A.C. et al. Lipids (2007) 42: 109. doi:10.1007/s11745-006-3014-4


The objective of the study was to evaluate potential benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) rich fish oil supplementation as an adjunct to statin therapy for hyperlipidaemia. A total of 45 hyperlipidaemic patients on stable statin therapy with persistent elevation of plasma triglycerides (averaging 2.2 mmol/L) were randomised to take 4 g/day (n = 15) or 8 g/day (n = 15) of tuna oil or olive oil (placebo, n = 15) for 6 months. Plasma lipids, blood pressure and arterial compliance were assessed initially and after 3 and 6 months in 40 subjects who completed the trial. Plasma triglycerides were reduced 27% by 8 g/day DHA-rich fish oil (P < 0.05) but not by 4 g/day when compared with the placebo and this reduction was achieved by 3 months and was sustained at 6 months. Even though total cholesterol was already well controlled by the statin treatment (mean initial level 4.5 mmol/L), there was a further dose-dependent reduction with fish oil supplementation (r = −0.344, P < 0.05). The extent of total cholesterol reduction correlated (r = −0.44) with the initial total cholesterol levels (P < 0.005). In the subset with initial plasma cholesterol above 3.8 mmol/L, plasma very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were isolated and assayed for cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apoB) at the commencement of the trial and at 3 months of intervention. Fish oil tended to lower cholesterol and apoB in VLDL and raise both in LDL. There were no changes in IDL cholesterol, IDL apoB and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The results demonstrate that DHA-rich fish oil supplementation (2.16 g DHA/day) can improve plasma lipids in a dose-dependent manner in patients taking statins and these changes were achieved by 3 months. Fish oil in addition to statin therapy may be preferable to drug combinations for the treatment of combined hyperlipidaemia.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids Statin therapy Docosahexaenoic acid Hyperlipidaemia Combination therapy 



Analysis of variance


Coronary heart disease


Docosahexaenoic acid


Eicosapentaenoic acid


High-density lipoprotein


High-density lipoprotein cholesterol


Intermediate-density lipoprotein


Low-density lipoprotein


Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Very low density lipoprotein


Very low density lipoprotein cholesterol

Copyright information

© AOCS 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara J. Meyer
    • 1
  • Tone Hammervold
    • 2
  • Arild Chr. Rustan
    • 2
  • Peter R. C. Howe
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Health SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, School of PharmacyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, School of Health SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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