October 1, 2012
Cardiac Benefits of Fantastic Fish Oil

Fish oil may be the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. Large amounts of research keep being published showing the benefits of fish oil supplementation. In a study out of the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found taking 1 gram of fish oil daily decreased resting heart rate by an average of six beats per minute. This means the heart is more efficient and can deliver more blood per beat. Also, fish oil supplementation improved the ability of the arteries to dilate. This is crucial in reducing blood pressure and stress on your heart. You should make sure you get at least 1 gram of purified, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil per day to help receive the many benefits of fish oil.

If that study wasn't enough to convince you to supplement your diet with fish oil, check this one out. Overweight subjects with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides (high levels of fat in the blood) participated in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The subjects were assigned to one of four groups. One group supplemented with fish oil, another group supplemented with fish oil and did aerobic exercise (45 minutes of walking, three days per week), another group supplemented with sunflower oil (which has very little omega-3s), and a fourth group supplemented with sunflower oil and did aerobic exercise. This study lasted for 12 weeks.

Fish oil supplementation decreased triglycerides, improved high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the "good" cholesterol that decreases your risk for heart disease) cholesterol, and improved the ability of blood vessels to dilate. Exercise helped make the blood vessels more elastic (which helps blood pressure and lowers your risk of heart disease). Both fish oil and exercise helped reduce body fat. Bottom line: Fish oil is fantastic, and fish oil combined with exercise is even better.

Fish oils are made up of two fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which play a role in preventing hardening of the arteries, which is a main cause for heart disease. There is no upper limit on fish intake, according to the FDA. The upper limit that is generally considered safe for fish oil, however, is 3 grams total of EPA and DHA.

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