As people living with HIV get older, it makes sense to pay attention to heart health. Triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are two types of blood fats – raised levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
A randomised study shows that people living with HIV who already have very high levels of triglycerides can reduce them with supplements of omega 3 fatty acids (extracted from fish oils). The supplement used was not one you can buy commercially but has a high dose and is only available on prescription (brand name Omacor in Europe and Lovaza in the United States).
People in the study took the supplement for two years, and also attempted to improve their diet and lose weight.
People taking omega 3 had significant reductions in triglycerides (but not in cholesterol).
They also had significantly lower levels of a biomarker of inflammation. In people living with HIV, the long-term activation of the immune system in response to HIV (chronic inflammation) may contribute to the earlier onset of heart disease and other illnesses.