Omega-3's May Lower Harmful Homocysteine
Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of heart disease according to a study published recently in the April 2011 issue of the journal Nutrition.
For the study, researchers from China, Taiwan, and Australia analyzed data from 11 trials that included over 700 participants with doses of omega-3's ranging from 0.2 to 6 grams per day.
Their analysis found that people taking supplements of omega-3's had significantly lower levels of an amino acid called homocysteine. Homocysteine is a compound in the blood that has been linked to heart disease and dementia.
This study provides yet another potential mechanism for the well documented heart health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acid consumption. The link between omega-3's and heart health goes all the way back to the 1970's when scientists sought to understand why Eskimos have an astoundingly low prevalence of heart disease despite eating high fat diets.
Studies eventually found a link between this low rate of heart disease and the Eskimos’ high consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Since then, these essential fatty acids have been linked to a whole slew of health benefits. These benefits are most prevalent for heart health but also include reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration and even improving mood.
Taking a high quality supplement is a good way to increase omega-3 intake, however make 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 such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are also high in omega-3's.