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Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids Especially Important for Smokers

Previous studies have linked omega-3 essential fatty acids with improved heart health and now a new study suggests that omega-3 supplementation may help repair some of the damage done to the hearts of tobacco smokers.

The research was published online ahead of print on November 17, 2011, in the International Journal of Cardiology.

Researchers at the University of Athens Medical School recruited 20 healthy adult smokers for the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over trial. Over a twelve week period they were assigned either 2 g per day of omega-3 essential fatty acids or a placebo. After the twelve weeks they switched interventions for another 12 weeks.

Measurements of arterial function were taken right before, right after, and 20 minutes after the participant smoked a cigarette at day 1, day 28 and day 84. The researchers also checked levels of biomarkers of damage to the arterial structure.

Participants in the omega-3 essential fatty acid group showed improved arterial stiffness and slightly less smoking-induced damage to the elasticity of the blood vessels.

n addition to heart health, omega-3s have been linked to an impressive number of health benefits, including improved brain health, alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age-related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s, while ALA omega-3 fatty acids are plant derived and can be found in flaxseed oil, vegetable oil, and walnuts.

If you don’t like fish or you’re worried about the high mercury levels found in some fish, consider taking a daily high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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