BACKGROUND: Indian Asians in Western countries have a higher rate of coronary artery disease than do the indigenous white populations, and this higher rate may be influenced by a dietary imbalance of n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to test the hypothesis that a high background dietary intake of n-6 PUFA attenuates the effects of fish-oil supplementation on insulin sensitivity and associated blood lipids of the metabolic syndrome. DESIGN: Twenty-nine Indian Asian men were recruited to participate in a 12-wk dietary intervention trial. Volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either a moderate or a high n-6 PUFA diet featuring modified oils and spreads over a 6-wk period. After this 6-wk period, both groups were supplemented with 4.0 g fish oil/d (2.5 g eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid) for an additional 6 wk in combination with the dietary treatment. Volunteers participated in a postprandial study and an insulin sensitivity test after the 6-wk dietary intervention and again after the fish-oil supplementation period. RESULTS: There was no significant time x treatment interaction for blood lipids or insulin action after dietary intervention with the moderate or high n-6 PUFA diets in combination with fish oil. After the 6-wk period of fish oil supplementation, fasting and postprandial plasma triacylglycerol concentrations decreased significantly. CONCLUSION: The background dietary n-6 PUFA concentration did not modulate the effect of fish-oil supplementation on blood lipids or measures of insulin sensitivity in this ethnic group.