Another Study Supporting the Heart Health Benefits of Omega-3s
Studies regarding the heart health benefits of omega-3 essential fatty acids have been making news since the 1970s. Another such study, published in the April 2012 issue of Atherosclerosis, suggests omega-3 essential fatty acids may help blood vessels function properly.
The researchers were based at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College.
This large meta-analysis examined data from 16 studies that included 901 individuals. They found that people who consumed omega-3 supplements ranging from 0.45 grams to 4.5 grams daily for an average of 56 days showed a 2.3% improvement in flow-mediated dilation (FMD). FMD is the measure of the ability of the blood vessel to relax.
They did not, however, note improvements at higher dosages.
Additionally, these results were seen only in people with cardiovascular disease or at risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers believe this could be because people with healthy hearts already have well functioning FMD, meaning that no improvements are possible or necessary.
While unsure of the exact mechanism behind these results, the researchers believe it is possible that the omega-3’s play a role in reducing the levels of inflammatory biomarkers involved in damage to vascular cells.
In 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.