How does fish oil help cholesterol and heart health?

Published February 26, 2015

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To help maintain heart health, the Heart Foundation recommends Australian adults consume at least 500mgs of omega‐3 essential fatty acids every day. Some people may require more.1

What are omega‐3 fatty acids?

Omega‐3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are classed as healthy fats because they are known to have benefits for heart health.1 Fish oil is a natural source of omega‐3 fatty acids.

Why are omega‐3 fatty acids so good for my heart?

Research into Eskimo and Japanese populations whose diets are high in fish, show a low prevalence of heart conditions. This observation led to many studies investigating the effect of fish oil extracts on cardiovascular health.2

The omegas-3 found in fish oil help to maintain general well-being and offer many benefits for heart health. High cholesterol is considered a risk factor for poor cardiovascular health and omega‐3 help maintain a healthy LDL:HDL ratio. LDLs are Low Density Lipoproteins and are considered the ‘bad’ cholesterol while HDLs (the High Density Lipoproteins) are considered the ‘good’ cholesterol as they can help to maintain a healthy heart.3

Omega-3 is thought to support heart health through several possible mechanisms, including:

  • Increases the omega-3 content in membranes of mature blood cell. Helps maintain healthy blood pressure in healthy individuals.
  • Maintains healthy triglyceride levels (another type of fat in the blood).
  • Helps maintain healthy LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio in healthy people.
  • Maintains the health of capillaries.
  • May help reduce the stickiness of blood (platelet aggregation) in healthy individuals.
  • Maintains the flexibility of blood vessels to promote healthy blood flow.

Our bodies cannot manufacture omega-3 efficiently therefore they need to be obtained through the diet or via supplementation. Consuming three serves of fish each week or taking a daily omega-3 supplement will help ensure you’re getting enough of these essential fatty acids.

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