What Role Does Fish Oil Play in Heart Health?

Everyone strives to be healthier. We count our calories and watch our weight. We work out at the gym regularly and limit our consumption of alcohol. In spite of our best intentions, experts say that we are not a healthy nation. The statistics are startling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 935,000 Americans will have a heart attack each year. Of this astronomical figure, about 600,000 will die of heart disease.1

Be Good to Your Heart

Because experts say that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, we should make cardiovascular wellness a top priority.

Easier said than done, right? But health professionals tell us that even small steps – such as incorporating more fresh fruits and veggies in your diet, taking brisk walks on a regular basis and cutting back on your intake of red meat and deep-fried foods – can reduce your risk of heart attack.

Here’s another step to consider: fish oil supplements.
  • Fish oil can promote heart health
  • Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can reduce risk of coronary heart disease
  • Fish oil may help lower blood pressure
  • Fish oil can drastically decrease triglycerides
  • Fish oil is said to slow or slightly reverse hardening of the arteries

Let’s look at four major contributors to heart disease and examine how fish oil can help lower or decrease your risk of these disorders:

High triglycerides

High triglycerides can wreak havoc on heart health. So what exactly are they?

Triglycerides are a type of fat, or lipid, floating around the blood stream. Any time you consume food, your body converts extra calories it doesn’t use right away into triglycerides. These lipids are then stored in your fat cells. Medical experts say that regularly eating more calories than you burn can lead to high triglycerides.

So how can fish oil help combat this condition? Scientific evidence shows that incorporating quality fish oil supplements in your diet can dramatically lower triglyceride levels2, improve blood circulation, and improve the function of the blood vessel lining. Fish oil contains the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which can lower high triglyceride levels in patients with coronary artery disease. In fact, the American Heart Association has set a recommended dosage of EPA and DHA found in fish oil for triglyceride management, in conjunction with other lifestyle changes.3

Quality fish oil supplements, such as OmegaMx, are highly concentrated and contain high amounts of both EPA and DHA.

Hardening of the arteries

We should strive to maintain healthy arteries. Normal functioning arteries carry oxygen and other nutrients to the heart with relative ease and are flexible and elastic.

As we age, and depending on our lifestyle, the buildup of fatty deposits can cause arterial walls to thicken, which can hinder blood flow and cause clots to form. Medical experts say that this condition, known as atherosclerosis, can lead to heart attack or stroke, but it is preventable.

Scientific evidence shows that consuming fish oil can play a positive role in limiting or reversing atherosclerosis. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, a study examining the effectiveness of fish oil was conducted on primates with atherosclerosis. The study concluded that cholesterol levels were lower in the primates given the fish oil, and the subjects fed fish oil had less atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries and in the aorta.4

High blood pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, impacts one in every four American adults and is considered a silent killer.5 You may be asking, “What role does high blood pressure play in heart health?” A blood pressure reading greater than 140 systolic over 90 diastolic is considered high. When blood pressure rises, the heart is forced to work harder than usual. When this vital muscle is over exerted for a long period of time, it enlarges and may have trouble keeping up with the demands placed on it. Left untreated, elevated blood pressure can damage the blood vessels or vital organs, which can pave the way for strokes and heart disease.

Fish oil has been found to have a healthful impact on high blood pressure. Several clinical trials have shown that consuming a diet of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil decreases blood pressure in patients with existing hypertension. Clinical studies also bear out that taking three or more grams of fish oil per day may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension.6

Diabetes

Diabetes, a chronic condition in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood, is considered a risk factor for heart disease, according to the experts. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains that patients who have diabetes have a higher than average risk of having a heart attack than people who aren’t diabetic.

The ADA also says that two out of three people with diabetes will die from heart disease or stroke. These are frightening facts. But you can take steps to guard against diabetes.

Researchers suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can reduce chronic inflammation and insulin resistance, two components of diabetes.7 In another study measuring the impact of fish oil on diabetes, the findings determined that children who had more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets were less likely to develop the earliest signs of type 1 diabetes.8

As the above list illustrates, heart disease is a real threat affecting millions of Americans, but it can be managed. If a balanced diet and exercise are key components in your quest for cardiovascular wellness, why not make fish oil a part of your regimen as well for optimal health?


References

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/993.html
  3. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-heart-association-issues-first-ever-statement-for-management-of-trigylcerides-that-includes-intake-recommendations-for-omega-3-epa-and-dha-121080019.html
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2282103
  5. http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/preventing-high-blood-pressure
  6. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm
  7. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/199867.php
  8. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=208963

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