Background: Arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are important components of phospholipids and cell membranes. There has, however, been no clinical report on the direct effects of ARA and DHA on coronary circulation.
Objective: To evaluate the effects of ARA and DHA on coronary circulation using the measurement of coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR) by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography (TTDE).
Methods: A double-blind, placebo-matched study of 28 Japanese elderly individuals (19 men, mean age 65 years) conducted to compare the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; ARA 240 mg/day, DHA 240 mg/day) and placebo on CFVR. Coronary flow velocity (CFV) of the left anterior descending coronary artery was measured at rest and during hyperaemia by TTDE to determine CFVR.
Results: There were no significant differences in CFV at rest or during hyperaemia in CFVR at baseline in the two groups (PUFA versus placebo 17 (7 SD) versus 16 (6), 62 (20) versus 59 (12), and 3.85 (1.04) versus 3.98 (0.83) cm/s, respectively). After three months’ supplementation, CFV during hyperaemia was significantly higher in the PUFA than in the placebo group (73 (19) versus 64 (12) cm/s, p<0.01) although no significant difference was found between the two groups in CFV at rest (17 (7) versus 16 (4) cm/s). CFVR thus significantly increased after PUFA consumption (3.85 (1.04) versus 4.46 (0.95), p = 0.0023).
Conclusion: Three months’ supplementation of PUFA increased CFVR in Japanese elderly individuals, which suggests beneficial effects of PUFA on the coronary microcirculation.
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Competing interests: None.