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Omega-3s May Improve Heart Health In People With Metabolic Syndrome

A recent study found that taking omega-3 supplements may improve endothelial function and arterial stiffness, as well as lower inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors associated with chronic disease. They include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, large waist circumference, high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol. Presence of any three of the five risk factors results in a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.

Participants in the study included 29 people with metabolic syndrome. Over the course of 12 weeks they took either an omega-3 supplement or a placebo. After a four-week washout period, the participants switched interventions.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted improved flow mediated dilation (FMD) after the omega-3 period but not after the placebo period. FMD is the most common measure of endothelial function, which is itself the measure of how well the cells lining our blood vessels (the “endothelium”) are working.

They also noted improvements in pulse wave velocity, which measures the stiffness of arteries and lower levels of the inflammatory marker IL-6 after the omega-3 period. No significant changes were seen during the placebo period.

Researchers from the University of Athens Medical School conducted the study. It was published in the January 2014 issue of Atherosclerosis.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including 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 omega-3s.

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