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Fish Oil for Heart Health

March 7, 2009 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

If you’re a man who’s interested in keeping your cardiovascular system healthy, you’ll probably want to take today’s blog to heart. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease or you just hope to avoid such a diagnosis in the future. Fish oil is a powerful tool that you can use at any stage of the heart health continuum.

Omega-3 for You and Me

A key principle of the scientific method is the replication of results. One study may show a positive effect, but that generally doesn’t impress scientists very much. They want to see whether the conclusions of one study can be consistently demonstrated in other similar experiments. If that is achieved, then the results are considered noteworthy. It’s kind of like having the same or similar testimony given by several reliable witnesses in a courtroom.

Take Heart in Wild SalmonA new study in the Journal of Nutrition helps to solidify the protective role of fish oil in the management of heart disease. In particular, this trial looked at a specific fatty acid in fish called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

34 men, with ages ranging from 39 to 66, participated in the study. They all suffered from high triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood which may contribute to atherosclerosis.

  • Half of the men were given daily olive oil supplements for a total of 90 days. The other half took 3 grams of DHA (fish oil) supplements over the same amount of time.
  • Blood tests were taken prior to supplementation, at midway points, and at the end of the 90 day period.

The men who consumed the DHA fish oil showed improvements in several markers relating to cardiovascular health:

  • There was a 15% drop in C-reactive protein (CRP) and a 23% decrease in Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. Neutrophils (a variety of white blood cells that can promote inflammation) decreased by almost 12% as well. These changes indicate an anti-inflammatory effect. Excess inflammation is associated with damage to the arteries and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • A 7% increase in “matrix metalloproteinase-2″ was also noted. This is a natural inflammation fighting substance produced by our bodies.

Similar research was published in 2007 that showed that this same amount of DHA could also lower triglyceride levels by 24%. That study also demonstrated a drastic reduction in two specific forms of “bad” cholesterol: very low density lipoproteins/VLDL (decreased by 92 per cent), and intermediate density lipoproteins (dropped by 53 per cent).

C-Reactive Protein

Scientists have taken the necessary steps to prove their case to themselves and to us. Historical records and modern medicine are both telling us that fish and fish oil does a heart good. So please, take this information and discuss it with your physician. By doing so, you can be proactive in your own health care regimen. Your heart will thank you for it.

Be well!

JP

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8 Comments & Updates to “Fish Oil for Heart Health”

  1. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    JP, have you read the negative reports on olive oil?

    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50711&page=2

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17045905?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=5&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

  2. JP Says:

    Iggy,

    I could only access the 1st and 3rd links that you posted.

    IMO, the primary benefit of olive oil is found in the naturally occurring polyphenols that are present in the extra virgin pressings (and in olives themselves).

    Comparing omega-3 rich oils and foods with regular olive oil isn’t a fair comparison, IMO. For instance, salmon and walnuts are rich in antioxidants that may complicate the results of such research. Regular olive is not a good source of the antioxidants which are known to provide cardiovascular benefits.

    I personally use a little bit of organic, extra virgin olive oil in my diet. But, I don’t go out of my way to include it on a regular basis.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. David Says:

    Extra virgin olive oil is the best kind or regular fats. Mediterranean diet is so healthy due to olive oil. Note that greek Crete isle has lowest heart disease in Europe thanks to its extra virgin olive oil, rich in hydroxityrosolo, one of more potent antioxidants.

    Omega 3 is more a supplement I also take.

  4. JP Says:

    Welcome, David.

    I think there are likely many reasons for the health benefits of Mediterranean diets.

    I do believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of extra virgin olive phenols likely play a part in the overall health promoting impact of that diet and lifestyle.

    Fish is another frequent ingredient in a Mediterranean style diet. That is something we must also consider.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. Anonymous Says:

    While there are extensive studies that make it easy to recognize the myriad of health benefits we could get from fish oil, recognizing what the best fish oil supplement is isn’t so easy. Fish oil has been linked to many wonderful health benefits. Some of these are heart disease prevention, anti-inflammatory properties,

  6. Anonymous Says:

    What are your thoughts on OmegaBerry Fish Oil? I’ve heard tons of radio ads for it so I gave in and paid the $5 for a trial bottle.

  7. JP Says:

    The formulation of the product is just fine, IMO. I’m not sure that the added berry extracts necessarily provide any synergistic activity with the omega-3 fatty acids though. It’s more like a bonus ingredient. The same goes with the Vitamin D.

    The discounted trial offer is a good deal. But the regular price for the product – as sold through the Purity Products website – is very high, IMO. You can get more for you money by obtaining the ingredients separately.

    Be well!

    JP

  8. JP Says:

    Update: Fish oil may reduce damage caused by heart attack …

    http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20150304/omega-3-fatty-acids-may-stem-further-damage-after-heart-attack

    “WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) — High doses of omega-3 fatty acids may protect against further damage in heart attack patients, a preliminary study suggests.

    The research included 374 heart attack survivors who received standard treatment and took either a 4-gram prescription-only dose of omega-3 fatty acids each day or a placebo. The researchers said that people probably couldn’t get that level of omega-3 fatty acids from diet alone. To illustrate how large a dose that is, the researchers noted that 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids is the equivalent of eating 8 ounces of salmon.

    Using MRIs, the patients’ hearts were scanned two weeks, four weeks and six months after their heart attack.

    Compared to those taking the placebo, patients taking the omega-3 capsules had lower levels of inflammation and were 39 percent less likely to show deterioration of heart function. There was also less thickening or scarring of the areas of the heart that were not directly damaged during the heart attack. This thickening, also known as fibrosis, often develops when the surviving heart muscle works harder to compensate for the damaged tissue, according to the researchers.”

    Be well!

    JP

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