Effects of moderate-dose omega-3 fish oil on cardiovascular risk factors and mood after ischemic stroke: a randomized, controlled trial

Sally D Poppitt, Colin A Howe, Fiona E Lithander, Karen M Silvers, Ruey-Bin Lin, John Croft, Yogini Ratnasabapathy, Robert A Gibson, Craig S Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids have long been associated with cardiovascular protection. In this trial, we assessed whether treatment with a guideline-recommended moderate-dose fish oil supplement could improve cardiovascular biomarkers, mood- and health-related quality of life in patients with ischemic stroke.

METHODS: Patients with CT-confirmed stroke were randomized to 3 g/day encapsulated fish oil containing approximately 1.2 g total omega-3 (0.7 g docosahexaenoic acid; 0.3 g eicosapentaenoic acid) or placebo oil (combination palm and soy) taken daily over 12 weeks. Serum triglycerides, total cholesterol and associated lipoproteins, selected inflammatory and hemostatic markers, mood, and health-related quality of life were assessed at baseline and follow-up. The primary outcome was change in triglycerides. Compliance was assessed by capsule count and serum phospholipid omega-3 levels (Australian Clinical Trials Registration: ACTRN12605000207617).

RESULTS: One hundred two patients were randomized to fish oil or placebo. Intention-to-treat and per-protocol (>85% compliance) analyses showed no significant effect of fish oil treatment on any lipid, inflammatory, hemostatic, or composite mood parameters measured. Adherence to treatment based on pill count was good (89%) reflected by increased serum docosahexanoic acid (P<0.001) and eicosapentaenoic acid (P=0.0006) in the fish oil group. Analysis of oil composition, however, showed some degradation and potentially adverse oxidation products at the end of the study.

CONCLUSIONS: There was no effect of 12 weeks of treatment with moderate-dose fish oil supplements on cardiovascular biomarkers or mood in patients with ischemic stroke. It is possible that insufficient dose, short duration of treatment, and/or oxidation of the fish oils may have influenced these outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3485-92
Number of pages8
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Fish Oils
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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