Omega-3 Supplement Benefits
Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil is rich in one type of fatty acids called omega-3 fatty acids. Your heart can benefit in many ways from eating the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can decrease arrhythmias, reduce triglycerides, decrease the growth of atherosclerotic plaques, and slightly reduce blood pressure.
You can get omega-3 fatty acids from the foods you eat or by taking a dietary supplement. In general, it is best to get these fatty acids from healthy foods such as fish, nuts and vegetables. If you are being treated now for heart disease, your requirements may be higher and your doctor may recommend a dietary supplement of fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating Fish for Heart Health
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week. And to maximize the healthy fats of fish oil, try to choose fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon. These fish are highest in omega-3 fatty acids.
Other Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Besides fish, some plant foods also contain fatty acids which can be converted by your body into omega-3 fatty acids. Try to include walnuts and walnut oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, tofu, soybeans or edamame, and other beans.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - How Much per Day?
- General public: at least 0.25 - 0.5 grams/day
- Patients with Coronary Heart Disease: Eat about 1 gram/day of EPA+DHA
- Patients who need to lower triglycerides: 2-4 grams/day of EPA+DHA
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - From Food or Supplements?
If you are a healthy adult, adding foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can provide enough omega-3 fatty acids to benefit your heart. One serving of fatty fish, one serving of walnuts, or one cup of soybeans can provide the daily goal.
If you have heart disease or need to lower triglycerides, a supplement may be necessary. Talk to your doctor about what supplements are right for you.
Mozaffarian, D and Rimm, EB. Fish Intake, Contaminants, and Human Health Evaluating the Risks and the Benefits JAMA. 2006;296:1885-1899.
AHA Scientific Statement. Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease
AHA Recommendation - Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.