How fish oil promotes heart health
You have probably heard many things about fish oil in recent years, but what stands out about this “fishy” supplement is its effect on cardiovascular health. More specifically, the omega-3-fatty acids found in fish oil--eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)--are what can help support the health of your ticker. But what exactly are these “fatty” acids and how can something with that name in it be good for your heart?
What they’re saying about fish oil. First, let’s get into the heart of what science is saying about fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended for years that people with coronary heart disease consume omega-3 fatty acids--just like those found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Randomized, controlled trials have found that fish oil supplementation is associated with lower rates of stroke, heart attack, and death in people who already have heart disease. With this in mind, imagine what fish oil/omega-3 can do as a preventative supplement…
How fish oil supports heart health. There are many ways that the omega-3s in fish oil have been shown in research to protect the heart, such as:
- Reducing levels of triglycerides
- Lowering blood pressure
- Lowering levels of inflammation
- Providing blood flow stability within and around the heart
- Preventing blood clots
What the latest science says about fish oil. One analysis of 120,000 adults by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered that people who received omega-3 fish oil supplements in randomized clinical trials experienced lower risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular disease events, compared to those given placebo. An association between daily omega-3 supplementation and reduced risk of most CVD outcomes was discovered by researchers, such as heart attack, death from coronary heart disease and from CVD; higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplementation reduced the risk even further.
Plant-derived sources of omega-3. For vegans and vegetarians, there are alternatives to fish oil that can provide beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid, which is found in Evening Primrose, flaxseed, and pumpkin seed oils, offers the benefits of omega-3s without the fish. You can try a single oil, or a blend to ensure you get your daily omega-3s.
Each year, millions of people experience CVD events around the globe. With higher fish oil supplementation, some of the risks can be reduced. However, dietary and other lifestyle changes should also play a role with heart health; consume more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as fish, reduce alcohol consumption, quit smoking, and ensure you move every day. Finally, have a heart-to-heart with you healthcare practitioner about taking fish oil and what amount is right for you.