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Omega-3s Linked to Improved Heart Health for Smokers

Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack. A new study has found that taking omega-3 supplements may improve endothelial function (heart blood flow) in smokers, thereby reducing the risk of cardiac problems.

The study included 20 healthy adult cigarette smokers. Over the course of 6 weeks, half of the group consumed an omega-3 supplement while the other half took a placebo.

The researchers discovered that smokers do not produce a great deal of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), which is responsible for the breakdown of clots in blood vessels. After six weeks, t-PA levels in the supplement group were more than double the levels in the placebo group.

Participants in the supplement group also had higher levels of substances known to dilate blood vessels, which improves blood flow.

They noted that the omega-3 supplement used in the study is a highly purified, pharmaceutical grade form that contains concentrated omega-3 fatty acid ethyl esters.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Wellington Hospital in New Zealand, and Wythenshawe Hospital in the UK. It was published online ahead of print on November 26, 2012, in the journal Heart.

Omega-3s have been linked to a 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.

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