Fish consumption is recognized as one of the most beneficial supplements for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.1-4 What’s more, fish oil supplementation has also shown to have similar cardiovascular benefit.5-7
Most of cardiovascular benefit associated with fish oil consumption doesn’t have to do with lower total or LDL cholesterol levels as much as positively modifying other factors that contribute to cardiovascular health such as lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammatory in blood vessel walls, and reducing platelet activity.1-8 Furthermore, fish oil can positively impact blood pressure.9
Much of the benefit comes from EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), an omega 3 fat which can get into the tissue lining blood vessels and be converted to other beneficial factors called eicosanoids (see Omega-3 Conversion Figure). However, patience is important as it can take several weeks to months in order for fish oil to have measurable benefit; but the health of your heart is worth the patience.
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2. Kromhout D, Feskens EJ, Bowles CH. The protective effect of a small amount of fish on coronary heart disease mortality in an elderly population. Int J Epidemiol. 1995;24(2):340-345.
3. Dolecek TA, Granditis G. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and mortality in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT). World Rev Nutr Diet. 1991;66:205-216.
4. Daviglus ML, Stamler J, Orencia AJ, et al. Fish consumption and the 30-year risk of fatal myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med. 1997;336(15):1046-1053.
5. Dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E after myocardial infarction: results of the GISSI-Prevenzione trial. Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell’Infarto miocardico. Lancet. 1999;354(9177):447-455.
6. Marchioli R, Barzi F, Bomba E, et al. Early protection against sudden death by n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids after myocardial infarction: time-course analysis of the results of the Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell’Infarto Miocardico (GISSI)-Prevenzione. Circulation. 2002;105(16):1897-1903.
7. Singh RB, Niaz MA, Sharma JP, Kumar R, Rastogi V, Moshiri M. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of fish oil and mustard oil in patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction: the Indian experiment of infarct survival–4. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1997;11(3):485-491.
8. Appel LJ, Miller ER 3rd, Seidler AJ, Whelton PK.Does supplementation of diet with ‘fish oil’ reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis of clinical trials. Arch Intern Med.1993 Jun 28;153(12):1429-38.
9. Ramel A, Martinez JA, Kiely M, Bandarra NM, Thorsdottir I. Moderate consumption of fatty fish reduces diastolic blood pressure in overweight and obese European young adults during energy restriction. Nutrition2010 Feb;26(2):168-74.