Metabolic and endocrine effects of long-chain versus essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in polycystic ovary syndrome

M. Luisa Vargas, Rogelio U. Almario, Wendy Buchan, Kyoungmi Kim, Siddika E Karakas

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41 Scopus citations


The objective of the study was to compare the effects of essential vs long-chain omega (n)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in polycystic ovary syndrome. In this 6-week, prospective, double-blinded, placebo (soybean oil)-controlled study, 51 completers received 3.5 g n-3 PUFA per day (essential PUFA from flaxseed oil or long-chain PUFA from fish oil). Anthropometric variables, cardiovascular risk factors, and androgens were measured; oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and frequently sampled intravenous GTT (IVGTT) were conducted at baseline and 6 weeks. Between-group comparisons showed significant differences in serum triglyceride response (P =.0368), whereas the changes in disposition index also tended to differ (P =.0621). When within-group changes (after vs before intervention) were considered, fish oil and flaxseed oil lowered serum triglyceride (P =.0154 and P =.0176, respectively). Fish oil increased glucose at 120 minutes of OGTT (P =.0355), decreased the Matsuda index (P =.0378), and tended to decrease acute insulin response during IVGTT (P =.0871). Soybean oil increased glucose at 30 (P =.0030) and 60 minutes (P =.0121) and AUC for glucose (P =.0122) during OGTT, tended to decrease acute insulin response during IVGTT (P =.0848), reduced testosterone (P =.0216), and tended to reduce sex hormone-binding globulin (P =.0858). Fasting glucose, insulin, adiponectin, leptin, or high-sensitivity C-reactive protein did not change with any intervention. Long-chain vs essential n-3 PUFA-rich oils have distinct metabolic and endocrine effects in polycystic ovary syndrome; and therefore, they should not be used interchangeably.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1711-1718
Number of pages8
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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