Omega-3 Effect on Blood Clotting Appears Sex-Specific

September 22, 2010

Adding to established science indicating that omega-3s have a role in reducing blood platelet aggregation, a new human trial published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases suggests that these effects are sex-specific.

Excessive platelet aggregation can cause to blood clotting, a major risk factor in diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, thrombosis, and other health conditions.

Australian academic researchers conducted a short-term blinded trial in which 15 males and 15 females were assigned to a single-dose capsule rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or placebo. Platelet aggregation was then measured at baseline, 2, 5, and 42 hours after supplementation.

Results of the trial indicate that EPA effectively reduced platelet aggregation in male subjects by an average of 11, 10.6, and 20.5% at each subsequent measurement after baseline; however, DHA was shown to be no more effective than placebo. Additionally, an inverse relationship between testosterone levels and platelet aggregation was observed with EPA.

As for the female subjects, only DHA reduced platelet aggregation (by 13.7% at 24 hours).

'Interactions between sex hormones and omega-3 fatty acids exist to differentially reduce platelet aggregation,' wrote the study...s author, concluding that 'For healthy individuals, males may benefit more from EPA supplementation while females are more responsive to DHA.'

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