Many of us have learned to reduce cholesterol risk by eating fish. People who eat a lot of fish are better off. At least that is true concerning heart health. You may, of course, be concerned about pollutants in the fish you eat. It is a valid concern. There is a way, however, to put your mind at ease. We will come back to that in a moment.
But what is it about eating fish that can help us reduce cholesterol risk?
Some fish – cold-water fatty fish in particular – are rich in two forms of omega-3 fatty acids. These are EPA and DHA. These two omega-3 fatty acids have been attributed with an impressive number of health benefits.
The list of benefits is a long one. It is true that we are concerned primarily with heart health benefits. But just for kicks let’s take a brief peak at a few health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids that are beyond the realm of heart health. Seen from this light…
Here’s a question for you…
Are you sick and tired of just not
Are there health issues – in addition to your heart health – that concern you? Like…
Anxiety? Or not sleeping well? Or joint pain? Or low energy? Or poor digestion? Or weight gain? Or stress? Why do so many people suffer from these symptoms and others? Those nagging health issues that seem so difficult to define.
Did you know that these health problems – as well as more serious chronic diseases – can be the result of …
Many people have come to realize this and have made changes to recapture their health. We have a great – FREE – resource we want you to have. Simply click the link below.
Interest in omega-3 fatty acids was peaked when it was first observed that the Inuit Eskimos had diets high in fat. At the time our conventional views warned us that fat was bad. Yet these Eskimos – who apparently didn’t read our reports – had superior cholesterol and triglyceride profiles. How could this be?
This conundrum unleashed a flurry of studies on fish oil consumption and omega-3 fatty acids. The flurry continues today. What have we been finding out?
Omega-3 fatty acids – especially those derived from cold water fatty fish – have demonstrated positive effects on a whole list of health issues. Here are just a few:
Oh yea, let’s not forget heart disease. Not a bad resume I think. And the whole list is actually longer.
Of course we can’t talk about all of these conditions and how they are linked to omega-3. This site is about heart health. Particularly this page is about cholesterol.
What if your cholesterol profile is less than desirable? You could take drugs – prescribed ones of course. Or you could change your lifestyle. Or you could do both.
Changing your lifestyle may involve supplementing your diet with something you can’t get enough of through the normal course of eating three squares per day.
Here are a couple of examples.
CoQ10 supplements should be considered essential for those of us who are no longer in the prime of life. CoQ10 is necessary for the production of cellular energy. This especially applies to proper heart function.
But CoQ10 does something else. It can reduce cholesterol risk by reducing the level of LDL oxidation that naturally occurs in our bodies.
You can also aid this antioxidant process by supplementing with Catechins and Theaflavins – flavonoids found in green and black teas.
Why is the reduction of LDL oxidation important?
Studies support the idea that it is the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that promotes atherosclerosis and therefore coronary heart disease (CHD). The theory is - if LDL does not oxidize it will not build up inside the artery walls. Therefore stopping this oxidation process is of utmost importance.
For more information on CoQ10 and cholesterol please click here.
It is of extreme importance to reduce LDL oxidation. By doing so you reduce cholesterol risk. But it is also important to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check. This is where omega-3 becomes important.
Omega-3 fatty acids – especially those found in cold water fish – can positively influence your serum cholesterol profile. For example omega-3 can…
Elevate Your HDL Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol – which is the good kind – is not easy to influence. Low HDL puts one at higher risk for coronary heart disease related heart events. (Also people with diabetes tend to have low HDL levels.) Certain drug therapy can positively influence HDL cholesterol. Omega-3, if consumed in healthy amounts raises HDL cholesterol.
However, when it comes to LDL cholesterol the data is mixed.
What Effect Does Omega-3 have on Your LDL Cholesterol?
As you know scientific data sometimes conflict. So it is in relation to LDL cholesterol. LDL is the bad cholesterol that is the focus of most drug therapy. As I mentioned earlier oxidized LDL increases risk for coronary heart disease. The primary way doctors deal with this is to reduce the total levels of LDL in a patient.
This is where the data conflict.
Some studies have indicated that high dosages of omega-3 can actually raise LDL slightly. You need to be aware of this. Someone I know very well – O.K. it is my mother – stopped taking her fish oils because she heard this. What happened? I will tell you in a minute.
Some studies have indicated that omega-3 does not significantly affect LDL levels at all.
But the majority of the research indicates that LDL cholesterol is positively affected by omega-3 supplementation. Even most conservative organizations admit to this. In other words, taking fish oil supplements usually improves your LDL levels. Therefore it also helps reduce cholesterol risk.
Omega-3 Greatly Affects You Triglycerides
It looks like I’m sneaking this one in. But I’m really not. Triglycerides are now considered an essential part of a total blood profile along with total cholesterol, HDL and LDL. High triglycerides are now considered, not only an indication of cardiac problems, but an independent cause of cardiac ill-health.
If there is disagreement about the effect of omega-3 on LDL cholesterol there is none here. The evidence incontrovertibly demonstrates that triglyceride levels can be lowered greatly by supplementing with omega-3. In fact the very conservative American Heart Association recommends two to four grams per day of omega-3 from fish oils for someone trying to lower triglycerides.
Oh, by the way, when my mother stopped taking her fish oils her triglycerides and LDL cholesterol went up significantly. She started taking them again.
Omega-3 Supplementing Also Produces Other Benefits
Closely related to cholesterol is the way our blood platelets interact. Blood platelets that are 'sticky' tend to cause clots. Eskimos – because of the high levels of omega-3 in their diets – do not have sticky blood platelets. This is good news for most. Reduced platelet stickiness reduces your likelihood of developing coronary heart disease. It also reduces your likelihood for stroke.
However, if you have a blood clotting disorder like hemophilia stay away from fish oils.
O.K. I Know I Need More Omega-3. But Which Type Should I Choose?
We have only talked about omega-3 from fish. There are two of these, EPA and DHA. There is also a vegetative source known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Most studies are conducted using DHA and EPA because they have been proven much more effective in their influence over such things as triglycerides.
ALA has a similar, though less potent, effect compared to marine omega-3. Therefore the strongest supplements tend to be those from fish. Some people don’t like the taste of fish that they experience when supplementing with fish oils. For these there are omega-3 supplements made from ALA. A better choice though might be supplements made from a mixture of the two. Though the potency may not be as high as with pure marine sources, the fish taste is lessened.
Which ever you think is best for you make sure you trust the company from which you purchase omega-3 supplements. For ALA sources you want to be certain that the highest quality farming practices are used along with high quality manufacturing. Also you want to know that the manufacturer uses the whole plant and that the plant material is processed quickly after it is harvested.
For marine sources it is important to know that you are getting everything you are paying for and nothing else. That means pure fish oil from the fish highest in omega-3 and none of the mercury that is becoming more prevalent in our oceans and lakes.
You want to reduce cholesterol risk… not raise it.
I mentioned earlier the risk of pollutants in the fish we consume. Here is a good way to put your mind at ease while getting all the omega-3 you need for a healthy heart.
Take omega-3 supplements from a company with very high standards. Top quality fish oil supplements are virtually contaminant free. And here is a great bonus. There are a few fish oil supplements which leave no fishy aftertaste.
A Challenge For You!
People are making great improvements in their heart health.
How... are they doing it? By challenging themselves to change the way they eat. Really!
I have a challenge for you. It is my double dog dare.