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Omega-3s may lower triglycerides in those taking statin drugs

People with high cholesterol levels may take statin drugs to manage the condition, but some still have elevated levels of triglycerides, the most common type of blood fat. Doctors wanted to see if omega-3s could lower triglycerides in those with elevated levels who were taking statin drugs.

Participants in the study took the statin drug rosuvastatin for four weeks. Then the 201 people who still had elevated triglycerides continued on rosuvastatin alone or added 4,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day.

After eight weeks, the omega-3 plus rosuvastatin group saw a 26.3 percent drop in triglycerides, compared to 11.4 percent for rosuvastatin alone. To more accurately predict chances of heart disease, doctors are beginning to total the two types of “bad” cholesterol—LDL and VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein)—as a percentage of total cholesterol, excluding HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

After the eight week study period, those in the omega-3 group saw a 10.7 percent decline in non-HDL cholesterol levels compared to a 2.2 percent drop for rosuvastatin alone. Discussing the findings, doctors said omega-3s appeared to provide the greatest benefit in those whose triglyceride levels or non-HDL cholesterol levels were highest, and whose body mass index scores were low.

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