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Omega-3's May Help Those with Metabolic Syndrome

Omega-3 supplements may help people with metabolic syndrome improve blood lipid levels and reduce the risk of developing serious health problems according to a recent study from Spain. The findings of the study were published in the August 2010 issue of the journal Nutrition.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that include obesity, hypertension, high levels of blood lipids and high blood sugar. People suffering from metabolic syndrome need to keep a close eye on cholesterol levels because they are at a much higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and suffering a heart attack.

The American Heart Association defines metabolic syndrome as having three or more of the following:

1. A waistline greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women

2. Good (HDL) cholesterol under 40mg/dL for men or 50mg/dL for women

3. Triglyceride levels over 150mg/dL

4. Blood pressure over 130/85mm Hg or the use of blood pressure medicine

5. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein

6. Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance

For the current study, researchers at the University of Cordoba, Spain recruited 117 patients with metabolic syndrome and had them follow four separate diets to see the effect each would have on blood lipid metabolism.

They found that a low-fat high-complex carbohydrate diet had several negative effects on the participants' blood lipid profiles, including increasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, when the participants followed the same diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids there was no change in blood lipid levels.

This study adds additional evidence to back the already impressive body of science backing the heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Previous studies have found that these essential fatty acids may help reduce the risk of age-related vision loss, boost cognitive function and may even help improve mood.

Taking a high quality supplement is a good way to increase omega-3 intake, just be sure that the supplement you choose is certified for purity and high in DHA and EPA, the two most important omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna are also high in omega-3?s.

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