What’s the second reason you started taking fish oil, after general health reasons? If you said you wanted to improve your heart health, you’re not alone! In fact, this the number one reason most people get turned on to taking fish oil.
1. Manage Your Cholesterol Levels
If your doctor has told you to start taking fish oil, this is probably why! According to popular science, high cholesterol is one of the leading risks factors for heart disease, yet is one of the easiest things you can control…OK, maybe not ‘easy’, but it can be done!
Chances are, you’ve been given a prescription for a group of drugs called ‘statins’ to help you balance out those cholesterol numbers. These drugs are intended to reduced cholesterol levels. The first thing you should now is that recent studies show that combining fish oil with statins protect heart functions in a way that is more effective than when either used alone!
Fish oil can help you keep both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ types of cholesterol in check, too. Recent studies suggest that the omega-3s found in fish oil raise HDL (that’s the “good” cholesterol) and lower LDL. This is great news!
The second thing you should know is that this is especially if you also have diabetes. People with diabetes tend to have high triglycerides and low HDL levels. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides by as much as 25%, reduce apoproteins (markers of diabetes), and increases good cholesterol in diabetics!
2. Decrease Risk Of Irregular Heart Beats
Irregular heart beats or “arrhythmia” are major factors in heart-related deaths, so decreasing this risk is one of the best things you can do to boost heart health.
Fish oil has actually been shown to decrease the risk of these dangerous heart beat irregularities. So much so, that the American Heart Association recommends regular omega-3 consumption to decrease your risk of irregular heart beats, as studies show that low levels of omega-3s are linked to higher rates of arrhythmia.
How does it work? Research suggests that omega-3s work from the inside, out. The fatty acids actually bind to the tissues surrounding the heart and can prevent irregular heart beats during strokes, one of the main causes of sudden cardiac death.
You can only lead a horse to water, though..A key finding published in Circulation, one of the American Heart Association journals, showed that nearly 35% of high risk patients chose not to follow advice given by the experts.
3. Prevent Plaque And Blood Clots
Atherosclerosis is a type of health condition where plaques build up in the arteries. Medical professionals agree plaques are responsible for most heart attacks. When this plaque ruptures, clots can form and prevent blood from passing by.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fish oil can reduce and even prevent heart plaques and blood clots. What’s more, researchers have found there’s an inverse relationship between higher levels of omega-6s and atherosclerosis, too. That means, the higher your omega-6s, the more likely you are to develop these plaques.
Importantly, researchers have also found that C-reactive proteins (CRP) play a very big role in the development of atherosclerosis. Studies published in the American Journal of Cardiology have shown that regular fish oil consumption, and especially the DHA fatty acid found in fish oil, can lower CRP levels.
4. Improve Circulation
People with poor circulation often have thicker blood which contributes to heart problems. Poor circulation is also common in people with diabetes and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
As a natural anti-coagulant, fish oil is an ideal treatment used to improve circulation. Studies show that fish oil actually works in two ways to benefit circulation: (1) by thinning the blood, a process which involves increasing flexibility in the blood capsules and preventing clotting agents, and (2) by actually widening the walls of the blood vessels themselves.
For these reasons, fish oil is most suitable for improving circulation. However, if you are already taking blood thinning medication it is advisable to check with your doctor and read up on fish oil side effects before adding this supplement to your diet.
5. Reduce The Risk Of Future Heart Attacks
According to the American Heart Association, the strongest evidence of heart-healthy fish oil benefits is for reducing the risk of future heart attacks and preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who already have it. Similar heart-healthy benefits are seen in people without CVD, too. For example, European researchers discovered omega-3 fish oil protects men from heart failure, a condition that affects around 5 million Americans.
While the reasons for this finding are not entirely understood by researchers, it’s likely a combination of these top 5 fish oil heart benefits. And, whether you starting taking fish oil for your heart or simply to improve your overall health, fish oil can actually help make a healthier you!