Fish oil is derived from the tissues of fatty fish and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fats that are important for heart health. Longtime heart health claims have been made for fish oil supplements.
Fish oil is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is found in many types of fish. Fish oils are often used to prevent heart disease and other health problems. Although some people prefer to take fish oil capsules, others find that eating fish is easier and more convenient.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week for the benefit of your heart. However, not all fish are created equal. For example, salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids but also contains some amount of mercury that can be harmful to the body if consumed in large quantities.
There is insufficient research to support the use of fish oil supplements to prevent heart disease in the general population, despite the fact that they have been shown to decrease blood pressure and triglycerides.
3 Potential Fish Oil Heart Benefits
Fish oil is thought to be helpful in lowering several risk factors for heart disease, even if it hasn’t been established that supplements can help prevent heart disease directly. These advantages consist of:
Bringing Down Triglycerides
It has been demonstrated that fish oil lowers blood triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a form of fat that can accumulate in artery walls and are detected in the blood. High triglyceride levels are associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
People with high blood triglyceride levels who are at a greater risk of heart disease have been shown to considerably reduce cardiovascular events when taking supplements of high-dose (4 grams) EPA fish oil.
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Bringing Down Blood Pressure
A significant risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. Both those with high blood pressure and those with normal blood pressure have shown that fish oil can lower their blood pressure.
The ideal dose for managing blood pressure, particularly for people with high blood pressure, is 3 grams of EPA and DHA per day from seafood or fish oil supplements. More than the recommended 3 grams of EPA and DHA per day may provide advantages for people with high blood pressure or a high risk of heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke are all impacted by inflammation. It promotes the development of plaque, which is composed of fatty substances and builds up in blood vessels. Plaque can then become loose and form blood clots.
It has been discovered that taking fish oil supplements increases the body’s production of anti-inflammatory molecules for up to 24 hours, yet it is unclear whether this lowers the risk of heart disease. Research is currently being done on how fish oil can help people with and without heart disease reduce inflammation.
Improving cholesterol levels
Fish oil can also help improve cholesterol levels by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) and reducing levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
Preventing blood clots
Fish oil can also help prevent blood clots by inhibiting the formation of thromboxane, a substance that promotes blood clotting.
The benefits of fish oil supplements for heart health are heavily promoted. Fish oil supplementation is not advised to prevent heart disease in the general population due to conflicting research. Supplemental fish oil has been shown to reduce triglycerides, blood pressure, and inflammation—all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
The amount and formulation of over-the-counter fish oil supplements can vary greatly, and the FDA does not regulate them. If you are thinking about using fish oil supplements, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional.