Winthrop Professor Hugh Barrett said a small study of Perth-based men whose average weight was 100kg showed that taking 4g of fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) reduces blood fats, which are a major risk factor in coronary artery disease.
A systems biologist in UWA’s Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, Professor Barrett worked with UWA colleagues in the School of Medicine and Pharmacology to investigate the effects of high doses of fish oil on the lipoprotein profile of the men who were aged in their 50s and with a body mass index of around 33.
The study was published in Clinical Science and adds to the understanding of the benefits of fish oil and the amount needed to have a noticeable cardioprotective effect.
“Recent trials of fish oils found that 1g a day was insufficient,” Professor Barrett said. “With 4g a day, we demonstrated a very significant lowering of the levels of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins, the primary carriers of fats in the blood.”
“Over the six-week trial, the men in the study developed a more normal lipoprotein profile.”
The researchers believe fish oils lower the number of fat laden lipoproteins secreted by the liver secreting into the bloodstream.
Professor Barrett, who is also a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellow in UWA’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology, develops mathematical models to describe the metabolic pathways of lipids and lipoproteins. His work aims to reduce the societal burden of cardiovascular disease and applies also in conditions such as diabetes and related metabolic disorders.