Skip to comments.Cardiovascular Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reviewed
Posted on 03/12/2008 6:29:03 PM PDT by blam
Cardiovascular Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reviewed
ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2008) Thousands of research studies have documented how the oils known as omega-3 fatty acids can benefit the cardiovascular system, particularly among people diagnosed with coronary artery disease. The incredible volume of research on this topic creates difficulty for many physicians and patients to stay current with findings and recommendations related to these oils. In the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, contributors briefly summarize current scientific data on omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular health, focusing on who benefits most from their protective effects, recommended guidelines for administration and dosing, and possible adverse effects associated with their use.
Two omega-3 fatty acids that have been associated with cardiovascular benefit, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are found in fish oils. The best source for DHA and EPA are fatty coldwater fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna. Fish oil supplements or algae supplements also can provide omega-3 fatty acids.
Author James O'Keefe, M.D., a cardiologist from the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., cites the results of several large trials that demonstrated the positive benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids, either from oily fish or fish oil capsules.
"The most compelling evidence for the cardiovascular benefit provided by omega-3 fatty acids comes from three large controlled trials of 32,000 participants randomized to receive omega-3 fatty acid supplements containing DHA and EPA or to act as controls," explains Dr. O'Keefe. "These trials showed reductions in cardiovascular events of 19 percent to 45 percent. Overall, these findings suggest that intake of omega-3 fatty acids, whether from dietary sources or fish oil supplements, should be increased, especially in those with or at risk for coronary artery disease."
How much fish oil should people attempt to incorporate into their diets? According to Dr. O'Keefe, people with known coronary artery disease should consume about 1 gram per day, while people without disease should consume at least 500 milligrams (mg) per day.
"Patients with high triglyceride levels can benefit from treatment with 3 to 4 grams daily of DHA and EPA," says Dr. O'Keefe. "Research shows that this dosage lowers triglyceride levels by 20 to 50 percent."
About two meals of oily fish can provide 400 to 500 mg of DHA and EPA, so patients who need to consume higher levels of these fatty-acids may choose to use fish oil supplements to reach these targets.
Dr. O'Keefe also notes that research supports the effectiveness of combining the consumption of fish oil with the use of cholesterol-lowering medications called statins. Combination therapy with omega-3 fatty acids and a statin is a safe and effective way to improve lipid levels and cardiovascular health beyond the benefits provided by statin therapy alone. Blood DHA and EPA levels could one day be used to identify patients with deficient levels and to individualize therapeutic recommendations.
Dr. O'Keefe found little evidence of serious adverse effects associated with fish oil consumption. "In prospective placebo-controlled trials, no adverse effects were observed to occur at a frequency of more than 5 percent, and no difference in frequency was noted between the placebo and omega-3 fatty acid groups," he says.
The most commonly observed side effects include nausea, upset stomach and a "fishy burp." Taking the supplement at bedtime or with meals, keeping fish oil capsules in the freezer or using enteric-coated supplements may help reduce burping and upset stomach symptoms.
Adapted from materials provided by Mayo Clinic.
Thanks for the info. I hate the fishy burp.
Hey thanks for posting this!
There are other good sources for the omega 3’s other than fish oil. No fishy burps necessary.
“Thanks for the info. I hate the fishy burp.”
Cold pressed Hemp oil is very good and you get no fish burp.
Everything I hear about these fish oils is good, I’ve heard eye specialists and diabetes specialists talk about them contributing to the health of blood vessels in the eyes.
In addition to the fish I eat things fresh flax seed in homemade muffins, waffles, TVP burgers.
Flax oil supplements?
Buy your capsules at Sam's Club. They have the enteric coated capsules without fishy taste or burp.
Don’t those veg. acids have to be converted into O3s in the body?
Thanks blam, I always swore fish oil helped, but this puts the nail in it.
That's one. There are other alternative sources-
Alternative Sources of Omega 3
by Rebecca Walton
Omega 3 & Omega 6 are two Essential Fatty Acids that are recognised by most. These fatty acids are essential, as they are needed for many bodily functions and processes, however our bodies cannot produce them. This means we must obtain Omega 3 & Omega 6 from dietary sources.
Studies have shown that the ratio in our diets of these essential fatty acids is off balance, and we need to be consuming more of Omega 3. One major, concentrated source of Omega 3 is oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. The type of Omega 3 contained in these fish is a complex one made up of two types of acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). This more complex Omega 3 is perfect for our needs.
Those of us out there who are vegetarian, or simply have an aversion to fish, must consume simpler Omega 3 fatty acids from plant sources. These are called ALAs (alpha-linolenic acid), and can be converted in our bodies into EPA & DHA.
You can find foods fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids such as breads, juices, meal bars, margarines and oils. Supplements are also widely available, the most popular being Linseed/Flaxseed oil (which is one of the most concentrated plant sources of Omega 3).
Other good plant based sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are:
Leafy Green Vegetables
For a double hit make a spinach and walnut (see below) salad. Add any other ingredients of your choice.
Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Pecans. Brilliant as a snack instead of chocolate or sweets. Toast slightly under grill for a great taste.
Choose a seeded roll when you go shopping. Sesame seeds also complement any slightly sweet or spicy chilli dressing.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is used itself as a dip, and also as a base for some Middle Eastern sauces such as curries, as a 'roux' would be in European cooking.
A great tasting chickpea dip (one of my favourites) made with a tahini base!
Soya Bean Oil, Canola Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Linseed/Flaxseed Oil. Most of these can be found in your local supermarket. Experiment when cooking, marinating and dressing.
Egg yolks, both chicken and duck, are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Sams sells an Omega Complex that combines several sources of the essential fatty acids. It is a better, more complete product than fish oil.
Right on! Grass fed beef and lamb actually beat the fish for DHA and EPA.
Where can I purchase 500mg or 1 gram of omega-3 capsules for lowest price? Local stores or off the internet?
Costco has a great deal on ground flaxseed powder at the moment. It tastes excellent too. I am using it every morning with my breakfast.
Chase the meal with a good Port Wine, or vodka & cranberry juice. Both negate the fish “redux’.