According to a new study published in January 2013 in the USA,the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids correlates to atherosclerotic plaque deposition in subjects currently being treated with lipid-lowering medication.
One hundred and one (101) subjects underwent intravascular ultrasound to assess coronary atherosclerosis at the beginning of the study and again after eight months of statin therapy. Additionally, researchers evaluated levels of serum omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA).
The investigators found after eight months of statin therapy, 46 percent of subjects showed atheroma progression (swelling of artery wall, with accumulation of calcium, cholesterol and various cells and tissues) and 54 percent of subjects showed atheroma regression.
The researchers found that as the ratios of EPA:AA, DHA:AA and EPA+DHA:AA increased, the percentage change in plaque volume decreased. Also, as the EPA:AA and EPA+DHA:AA ratios increased, the percentage change in the fibrous component of the plaque decreased. Additional analysis showed that EPA+DHA:AA ratio is a significant predictor of percentage change in atheroma volume and the amount of fibrous material in the atheroma.
The researchers stated, “In conclusion, decreases in serum omega 3 to omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratios are associated with progression in coronary atherosclerosis evaluated using virtual histology intravascular ultrasound in statin-treated patients with coronary artery disease.”
What all this means is that supplementation with fish oil containing high levels of DHA and EPA is the best thing for most people to do as modern diets already have a lot of Omega-6 in them from vegetable oils.
Omega 7 is also becoming of more interest to researchers as it helps regulate fat and blood sugar metabolism (in adipose tissue and in the pancreas)