Saturday, January 2, 2010

Omega-3 fatty acids and our health

We've recently seen many reports talking about the health benefits of fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids. We've seen many health-related websites pop up such as http://www.omega3.org and others. Where did all of this excitement around omega-3 come from? Well, observational studies have shown that Greenland Eskimos who eat large amounts of fish have very low rates of heart attacks and other major cardiovascular events. Should we be eating more fish to avoid heart attacks? I enjoy eating fish, so I have no problems increasing my fish consumption on a routine basis. However, I know that many individuals either don't like fish or some are even allergic to fish. Maybe they need to use their computers and visit http://www.omega3.org to explore their options.

In a fairly recent clinical study, investigators noted that the use of omega-3 fatty acids decreased resting heart rate and also improved 1-minute heart rate recovery following exercise. This study was published in 2006 in the Am J Cardiol. One 2006 systematic review published in the journal Atherosclerosis explored how omega-3 impacted levels of triglycerides, HDL-C and LDL-C. HDL-C is the good type of cholesterol, so we want that to be high. Omega-3 lowers triglycerides and raises HDL-C and both of these are good changes. However, omega-3 also appears to raise LDL-C which is the bad cholesterol. So before you start taking any type of nutritional supplement, make sure to discuss things with your personal health care provider.

You can learn more about omega-3 fatty acids by visiting sites like http://www.omega3.org. Now that we've started the New Year, do you plan to eat more fish? Can't eat fish? Allergic to fish? Maybe you'll want to talk with your health care provider about taking some omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Become an empowered consumer in the New Year! Do your research by using the Internet and gain knowledge about the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids so that you can make an informed decision.

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