Omega-3 supplements help children with high cholesterol improve lipid profiles

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Engler’s research team looked at the effects of omega-3s on children with high cholesterol. Photo credit: Marguerite Engler

According to a new study, fatty acid supplements can protect children with high cholesterol from heart disease later in life by increasing their blood levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, will virtually showcase their work this week at the American Physiological Society’s (APS) Annual Meeting in Experimental Biology 2021.

Previous research has shown that high blood levels of beneficial fatty acids, including the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) found in seafood, are associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease and a higher chance of disease are healthy aging. “Because coronary artery disease develops early in life in children with high cholesterol, lifelong treatment must begin in childhood,” said Dr. Marguerite M. Engler, first author of the new study. This is especially important as the global obesity rate is increasing in young people and the long-term safety of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs in children is unknown.

The researchers in the current study looked at children between the ages of nine and 16 with high blood cholesterol. The children followed a Mediterranean diet, known to be high in lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, and “healthy” fats like olive oil and fish for six weeks, followed by continuing the diet plus an EPA supplement for an additional six Weeks. The research team measured the children’s fatty acid levels before and after the Mediterranean diet for six weeks and again after the combination of diet and EPA supplementation for six weeks. Taking the EPA supplement for six weeks increased the blood levels of EPA and DPA. DPA is inherently anti-inflammatory and prevents platelets from sticking together, which helps preserve the cardioprotective properties of the fatty acids.

“The good news is that our results show that we can change the lipid profile in the blood of children at high risk of heart disease with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to a cheaper anti-inflammatory agent [lipid profile] that has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and [with] healthy aging, “said Engler.

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More information:
Abstract Title: “Eicosapentaenoic Acid Increases Plasma Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Hyperlipidemic Children: A Cardioprotective Nutrient?”

Provided by Experimental Biology

Quote: Omega-3 Supplements Help Children With High Cholesterol Improve Lipid Profile (April 27, 2021). Retrieved April 27, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-omega-supplements-kids-high-cholesterol.html

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