February 9, 2016

Alpha-Linolenic Acid

font size

How does Alpha-linolenic Acid work?

Alpha-linolenic acid is thought to decrease the risk of heart disease by helping to maintain normal heart rhythm and heart pumping. It might also reduce blood clots.

Are there safety concerns?

Alpha-linolenic acid is safe for most adults when used in amounts found in foods. There isn't enough information to know if it is safe in higher amounts. Alpha-linolenic acid from food sources is very well tolerated. However, it is high in calories and may cause weight gain if consumed in excess.

Do not use alpha-linolenic acid in amounts larger than found in foods if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have high blood triglyceride levels.
  • You have prostate cancer or are at high risk for prostate cancer (e.g., father or brother with prostate cancer).

Dosing considerations for Alpha-linolenic Acid.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

  • For prevention of coronary heart disease and related events like chest pain or a heart attack: approximately 1.2-2 grams per day from dietary sources seems to be associated with the greatest benefit.
  • For prevention of a second heart attack or other second event in people with coronary heart disease: approximately 1.6 grams per day as part of a Mediterranean diet appears to be beneficial.
Fatty acid dosing is often done based on percentage of daily calories it provides. Some researchers suggest that alpha-linolenic acid should make up roughly 1% of daily calories. This comes to approximately 2 grams based on a 2000 kilocalorie diet.

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Heart Health

Get the latest treatment options.

Related Supplements
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations
Atrial Fibrillation Quiz