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Large Comprehensive Review Shows Heart Benefits of Omega-3s are "Remarkable"

Scientists with the International Life Sciences Institute of North America have determined that the science behind the heart health benefits of omega-3s is so "remarkable" that the establishment of a Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for EPA and DHA is highly recommended.


The scientists came to this conclusion after a large comprehensive review of 15 prospective-cohort studies on the benefits of omega-3 consumption. The review was published in the June 2009 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.


Based on the review, the scientists determined that a mere 250-500mg of DHA and EPA markedly reduces the risk of cardiac death.


In fact, the large body of research shows that omega-3s have more of an impact on reducing the risk of chronic disease than any other dietary factor for which a DRI has already been set, including saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, salt, and dietary fiber.


The setting of a DRI for DHA and EPA would let the general public know that they should be a component of their daily diet.


There was, however, a more modest relationship between omega-3 consumption and other cardiovascular risks such as blood pressure, resting heart rate, triglyceride levels and heart rate variability.


The scientists also looked into the cognitive and cancer reduction benefits of omega-3.


They found that omega-3s ability to reduce dementia risk was "promising but limited" and hope further studies, some of which are already in progress, will serve to further knowledge in this field.


Despite a few studies backing the cancer benefits of omega-3, there is still not enough evidence to conclude any relationship between omega-3 consumption and cancer risk.


While more studies will help define the cognitive and cancer benefits of omega-3s, the cardiovascular benefits are proving to be far ranging and real.


Eating more oily fish is one way to increase your omega-3 levels, however, many people have trouble consuming enough of these essential fatty acids through diet alone to see any real health benefits.  In addition, depending on the type of fish and how the fish is raised, mercury levels in the fish may be a concern.


For most people, the easiest way to get more of these essential fatty acids is by taking a high quality fish oil supplement. When choosing a supplement, be sure that it is high in EPA and DHA and certified for purity.

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