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The chronic effects of fish oil with exercise on postprandial lipaemia and chylomicron homeostasis in insulin resistant viscerally obese men

Karin M Slivkoff-Clark, Anthony P James and John CL Mamo*

Author Affiliations

School of Public Health, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and the Australian Technology Network, Centre for Metabolic Fitness, Curtin University, Bentley Campus, Kent St, Perth 6102, Australia

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-9

Published: 7 February 2012



Visceral obesity and insulin resistance are associated with a postprandial accumulation of atherogenic chylomicron remnants that is difficult to modulate with lipid-lowering therapies. Dietary fish oil and exercise are cardioprotective interventions that can significantly modify the metabolism of TAG-rich lipoproteins. In this study, we investigated whether chronic exercise and fish oil act in combination to affect chylomicron metabolism in obese men with moderate insulin resistance.


The single blind study tested the effect of fish oil, exercise and the combined treatments on fasting and postprandial chylomicron metabolism. Twenty nine men with metabolic syndrome were randomly assigned to take fish oil or placebo for four weeks, before undertaking an additional 12 week walking program. At baseline and at the end of each treatment, subjects were tested for concentrations of fasting apo B48, plasma lipids and insulin. Postprandial apo B48 and TAG kinetics were also determined following ingestion of a fat enriched meal.


Combining fish oil and exercise resulted in a significant reduction in the fasting apo B48 concentration, concomitant with attenuation of fasting TAG concentrations and the postprandial TAGIAUC response (p < 0.05). Fish oil by itself reduced the postprandial TAG response (p < 0.05) but not postprandial apo B48 kinetics. Individual treatments of fish oil and exercise did not correspond with improvements in fasting plasma TAG and apo B48.


Fish oil was shown to independently improve plasma TAG homeostasis but did not resolve hyper-chylomicronaemia. Instead, combining fish oil with chronic exercise reduced the plasma concentration of pro-atherogenic chylomicron remnants; in addition it reduced the fasting and postprandial TAG response in viscerally obese insulin resistant subjects.