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Intake of n-3 fatty acids from fish does not lower serum concentrations of C-reactive protein in healthy subjects


Objective: High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, is a powerful predictor of cardiovascular risk. We hypothesised that n-3 fatty acids reduce underlying inflammatory processes and consequently CRP concentrations in healthy middle-aged subjects.

Design: Placebo-controlled, double-blind study.

Subjects: A total of 43 men and 41 postmenopausal women aged 50–70 y. Before and after intervention, we measured serum CRP concentrations with an enzyme immunoassay.

Interventions: Capsules with either 3.5 g/day fish oil (1.5 g/day n-3 fatty acids) or placebo for 12 weeks.

Results: The median CRP change in the fish oil group did not significantly differ from that in the placebo group (0.01 vs −0.17 mg/l, P = 0.057).

Conclusion: The currently available data —including ours— do not support that beneficial effects on CRP are involved in a mechanism explaining the protective effect on heart disease risk of n-3 fatty acids as present in fish.

Sponsorship: Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences.

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This study was funded by the Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences, an alliance of major Dutch food industries, Maastricht University, TNO Nutrition and Food Research, and Wageningen University and Research Centre, with financial support by the Dutch government.

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Guarantor: A Geelen.

Contributors: All authors contributed to the development of the protocol and were involved in the writing of the manuscript. AG analysed the data and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to A Geelen.

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Geelen, A., Brouwer, I., Schouten, E. et al. Intake of n-3 fatty acids from fish does not lower serum concentrations of C-reactive protein in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 58, 1440–1442 (2004).

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