Fish oil ingestion in smokers and nonsmokers enhances peroxidation of plasma lipoproteins

D. Harats, Y. Dabach, G. Hollander, M. Ben-Naim, R. Schwartz, E. M. Berry, O. Stein, Y. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of fish oil ingestion (10 g MaxEPA®/day) on the susceptibility of plasma lipoproteins to peroxidation was examined in 20 smokers (study A and B) and 22 nonsmokers (study C). The subjects were examined at the onset of each study (baseline values), divided into control and experimental groups and reexamined 4 weeks later. Smokers were examined 40 h after abstention from smoking (0 time) and 90 min after acute smoking (4-6 cigarettes). The parameters studied were TBARS, which provide an indication of peroxidative injury, and metabolism of conditioned LDL by macrophages as a biological indicator. These parameters were significantly higher (P < 0.05-0.001) when the 90 min values of smokers were compared to time 0. After 4 weeks of fish oil ingestion, a significant rise above baseline values (33-50%) in plasma and LDL TBARS was found in smokers examined at time 0 and after acute smoking. Peroxidative modification of LDL isolated from smokers fed fish oil resulted in significantly higher TBARS (34-41%) and its metabolism by macrophages was higher (65-139%) compared to baseline values. In nonsmokers, the baseline values of the above parameters were lower than in smokers. Ingestion of fish oil resulted in a significant rise in TBARS in plasma (33%), LDL (137%), conditioned LDL (36-40%) and metabolism of conditioned LDL (70%) by macrophages. In 6 nonsmokers and 4 smokers, 400 mg of vitamin E/day were given with the fish oil. In the nonsmokers, vitamin E counteracted the effect of fish oil more effectively than in the smokers. In the light of the present results, indiscriminate recommendation of fish oil supplementation to the population at large should be cautioned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Fish oil
  • LDL modification
  • LDL peroxidation
  • Macrophages
  • Smoking
  • Smooth muscle cells
  • Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances
  • Vitamin E


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