N-3 fatty acids as preventive and therapeutic agents in attenuating PCOS complications

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Mina Salek
Cain C. T. Clark
Mohsen Taghizadeh
Sadegh Jafarnejad


To our knowledge, in spite of several trials exploring the beneficial effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), no comprehensive evidence has investigated the effects of n-3 PUFA consumption on PCOS complications. Therefore, our aim was to conduct a review to investigate the possible effect and related mechanisms. A comprehensive systematic search was conducted in Embase, MEDLINE/PubMed, Google Scholar, and SCOPUS, to identify studies investigating n-3 fatty acids as a preventative or therapeutic agent for the attenuation of PCOS complications. Subsequently, the impact of omega-3 on PCOS, omega-3 and inflammation, omega-3 and insulin resistance, omega-3 and adipokines, omega-3 and lipid metabolism, omega-3 and endothelial function and omega-3 and hormonal factors were discussed. There are multiple mechanisms by which n-3 PUFAs may exert their beneficial effects on PCOS, including anti-obesity, glycemic and hormonal hemostasis, anti-inflammatory, regulation of adipokine production and enhancement of endothelial function. N-3 PUFAs are a promising agent in relieving complications associated with PCOS. Although most of the studies in patients with PCOS reported an improvement in most complications after administration of omega-3 supplements, there is a distinct dearth of studies investigating the dietary intake of these types of fatty acids. Moreover, favorable effects regarding the improvement of dyslipidemia, regulation of adipokines, regulation of hormonal factors and enhancement of endothelial function are limited. Therefore, more trials are warranted to investigate palatable mechanisms for clarifying the metabolic and hormonal effects of these agents in PCOS.

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Salek, M., Clark, C., Taghizadeh, M., & Jafarnejad, S. (2019). N-3 fatty acids as preventive and therapeutic agents in attenuating PCOS complications. EXCLI Journal, 18, 558-575. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2019-1534
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