Omthera Pharmaceuticals has developed a new “drug” based on essential fatty acids for lowering triglycerides and cholesterol.  The treatment, called “Epanova”, is in phase 3 testing and has shown excellent and positive results.

Three hundred ninety nine subjects were given either 2, 3 or 4 gram doses of Epanova or 4 grams olive oil.  The subjects starting triglyceride levels vaaried between 500 and 2000 mg/dl: the primary goal of the trial was to measure triglyceride count afterwards.

In all dose levels, statistically significant reductions in triglyceride levels were found: 26% for the 2 gm dose to 31% for the 4 gm dose.   The Epanova was well tolerated, with only 5 to 7% dropping out across all dosing groups.

The key to this formulation of fatty acids is the superior bioavailability thus seeing positive effects with as little as 2 gm a day.  A further benefit of Epanova is the decrease of 8% in non-HDL cholesterol.

Epanova is a patented novel ultra pure mixture of the freeform fatty acids of EPA and DHA, both important omega-3 fatty acids found commonly in fish that feed on sea plankton, such as salmon and tuna.  These oils have been proven to promote health in many ways including regulating cholesterol and triglycerides.

EPA is required for the production of prostaglandins, which control blood clotting and other arterial functions, while DHA is a major component of the human brain and retinal tissues.  It also is an important compound for transmission of nerve impulses.

More detailed reports are being prepared from this study.  I’ll be looking forward to reading the results.

This kind of therapy is certainly a step in the right direction, although I would find it hard to believe that this is something that will need a prescription since it appears to be composed of food extracts rather than a manufactured chemical.  Time will tell, but I am certainly welcoming this direction in medicine.

“In addition to the triglyceride lowering benefit, we were pleased to observe from these top-line results a meaningful decrease of 8% in non-HDL-cholesterol in both the 2 and 4 gram dose groups.”

Original story in the Wall Street Journal

The new Omthera Pharmaceuticals “Epanova” based on omega-3 fatty acids show incredible promise for lowering tricglycerides and LDL cholesterol without the usual harsh and unpleasant side effects.  What this means for you is that omega-3 sources such as cod liver oil or krill oil are available now.  We can start taking them and reap the benefits without waiting for the drug trials to finish.

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