Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can prevent cardiovascular events. However, few studies have addressed the effects of DHA on both platelet reactivity and redox status in healthy subjects, and dose-related studies are scarce. The main objectives of the present study were to determine the effects of increasing doses of DHA on platelets and redox status in humans. Twelve healthy male volunteers (aged 53-65 yr) were assigned to consume an intake of successively 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg/d DHA, as the only omega-3 fatty acid, for 2 wk each dose. Blood and urine samples were collected before and after each dose of DHA and at 8 wk after arrest of supplementation. DHA was incorporated in a dose-response fashion in platelet phospholipids.

After supplementation with 400 and 800 mg/d DHA, platelet reactivity was significantly decreased. Platelet vitamin E concentration increased only after 200 mg/d DHA, while p38 MAP kinase phosphorylation decreased. Urinary isoprostane was also significantly lowered after 200 mg/d DHA but was increased after 1600 mg/d.

Therefore, supplementation with only 200 mg/d DHA for 2 wk induced an antioxidant effect. It is concluded that low consumption of DHA could be an effective and nonpharmacological way to protect healthy men from platelet-related cardiovascular events.

PMID: 19443612

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Note: Each capsule contained 200 mg DHA in triglycerides from algal oil, 175 mg gelatin, 0.125 mg DL-α-tocopherol, and 0.125 mg ascorbic palmitate.