Omega 3 And Heart Health Archives

Omega 3 can reduce the risk of stroke by reducing the risk of Atrial Fibrillation

The role of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA in heart health has been established that some time, and the reason the American Heart Association tells us all to maintain a minimum level of intake of the Omega 3 fats.

More evidence is now emerging about the role of the Omega 3 fats in helping to prevent Atrial Fibrillation.

Atrial Fibrillation is a heart condition. It is often associated with chest discomfort including chest pain and palpitations, and is a form of cardiac arrhythmia, namely an irregular heartbeat.

Whilst Atrial Fibrillation may present no symptoms to the sufferer it has implications for their future health. For instance it can increase the risk of stroke in the presence of other risk factors like high blood pressure.

Atrial Fibrillation is quite common, and estimates are that it affects hundreds of millions of Americans and costs tens of $billions in health care costs. In particular its association with an increase in the risk of stroke is very serious. One of the major risk factors for Atrial Fibrillation is age, and as people pass the age of 40 their risk increases significantly, and this risk increases with advancing age.Omega 3 and Atrial Fibrillation

A study on Atrial Fibrillation, known as the “Framingham Heart Study“, observed that Atrial Fibrillation is now emerging as a major public health concern. That study examined the risks for developing Atrial Fibrillation, and concluded that the lifetime risk is one in 4 for men and women over the age of 40. That’s significant.

In a new study published in late 2011,  the role of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in preventing or helping prevent Atrial Fibrillation was examined.

In the study over 3000 men and women above the age of 65, who were free of Atrial Fibrillation or heart failure, were studied over a period of 10 years. Part of the study included readings of their levels of the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (together with DPA).

The conclusion of the study was that “In older adults, higher circulating total long-chain n-3 PUFA and DHA levels were associated with lower risk of incident AF.” (where long-chain n-3 PUFA means Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and AF means Atrial Fibrillation).

In fact it would appear from the study that more DHA alone had some effect on helping reduce the risk of Atrial Fibrillation.

And of course further studies are required to confirm the results and also to investigate whether or not increasing the amount of Omega 3 fats in the diet could be a form of primary prevention of Atrial Fibrillation.

This is an extremely important result given the number of people who suffer from this heart condition and the cost in both dollar terms and human terms of the condition. In many cases it can lead to death.

Good news indeed, the role of the Omega 3 fats in heart health continues to amaze.

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Understanding fish oil and heart disease. Is fish oil good for heart disease treatment, or just prevention?

We’ve written about the fish oil heart disease link before. There is no doubt that increasing your intake of Omega 3 found mainly in fish oil can help prevent some types of heart disease and cardio vascular problems.

None other than the American Heart Association recognizes that and recommends minimum levels of Omega 3 intake for this reason.  Specifically the AHA, on their website, say that Omega 3 fatty acids can decrease the risk of arrhythmias, (which can lead to sudden cardiac death), can decrease triglyceride levels and decrease the growth rate of plaque in the arteries. They can also help lower blood pressure.

And of course that’s all good for your heart. It helps prevent heart related problems, and keep your heart healthier than it would otherwise be. It shows a clear fish oil heart disease prevention link.
Fish Oil and Heart Disease
However what about people who already have heart related problems? Is there some link between taking fish oil and heart disease treatment? Or is it just prevention?

A series of studies published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology of around 40000 people have shown that there is also a link between Omega 3 and heart disease treatment. The studies have shown that there are also reasons to use Omega 3 supplements, (or to eat a lot of oily fish) to help treat people with known heart related problems.

This is also recognized by the AHA, they recommend minimum levels of Omega 3 dietary intake on their website, and for those people with existing heart problems the minimum level is double that recommended for people with no preexisting, or known, cardio vascular problems.

The new results are found on the website of the Journal, published yesterday, and a good summary is as follows:

“Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid therapy continues to show great promise in primary and, particularly in secondary prevention of cardiovascular (CV) diseases. The most compelling evidence for CV benefits of -3 PUFA comes from 4 controlled trials of nearly 40,000 participants randomized to receive eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) with or without docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in studies of patients in primary prevention, after myocardial infarction, and most recently, with heart failure.”

So there’s growing evidence of the fish oil heart benefits.

It is important to note though that for anyone with known heart problems a doctor should be consulted before starting any regime of Omega 3 fish oil supplementation.

For those who are beginning to look for good Omega 3 supplements it’s worth reading our article on how we have chosen our preferred fish oil supplements.

For those wondering about how much to take, the Journal also provides these guidelines, which accord closely with those published by the AHA. For those without any known vardio vascular conditions, 500 mg per day. For those with known cardio vascular conditions, around 800 – 1000 mg per day, however it notes that there is still a need for more studies to determine the relative amounts of EPA versus DHA.

So if you’re looking to help prevent, or for that matter to treat, future or known heart disease problems, put some serious effort into investigating the properties of fish oil in heart disease prevention, and treatment.

Your life may depend on it.

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There’s a range of health benefits of fish oil supplements. Improvements in cholesterol levels are one of them.

We’ve talked about many of the health benefits of fish oil supplements. There’s a range of health benefits of fish oil, amongst them to your heart. Lets have a look at Omega 3 and cholesterol today.

The results of a new study into the heart benefits of fish oil have been published in the Jan/Feb issue of Sports Health, A Multidisciplinary Approach.

It was a study of the heart benefits of taking fish oil supplements, or essential fatty acid supplements, the main component of which is fish oil.

The study was done on 36 pro football players from 23 to 41, who took either fish oil Omega3 supplements or a placebo. They took 4 fatty acid supplements/capsules each day, and that provided them with 2560 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids (650 mg EPA and 450 mg DHA in each capsule.)Fish Oil and Cholesterol

The results of  the study backed up many other studies that demonstrate the benefits of essential fatty acid supplements in the form of Omega 3 or fish oil supplements.

The football players had an improvement in their HDL levels (their good cholesterol) and a reduction in their LDL levels (their bad cholesterol).

And as well they demonstrated an improvement in overall triglycerides, the level being significantly lowered.

This is not the only fish oil supplements study to find a link between Omega3 and heart health. There are now numerous studies confirming a range of heart related health benefits of taking fish oil or Omega 3 supplements.

In fact the American Heart Association now recommends the intake of EPA and DHA (the two major beneficial Omega  3 fats) daily, at a dose of 1 gram a day, more for those with elevated triglycerides.

How do you get your Omega 3 essential fatty acids? By taking fish oil supplements.

Be aware that not all Omega 3 supplements are created equal. There are issues with both the quantity of DHA in each capsule as well as the purity of the fish oil, some fish oils being contaminated with heavy metals and PCBs and mercury. These are only small amounts but the best fish oil capsules contain higher levels of DHA than most others and undetectable levels of contaminants.

So if you’re at risk of heart health problems, and who isn’t, there are now significant fish oil supplements studies backing up the benefits daily fatty acid supplements. Make sure you get enough fish oils in your diet, every day.

Then you can feel good when you go to see your doctor for your annual checkup. You do get an annual checkup don’t you?

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