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FISHING FOR HEALTHfish-oil-pills-in-a-fish-ou.jpg

by Patrick Moore, N.D., M.S.

August, 2012

The medical community has known for years about the cardiovascular benefits of eating fish and consuming fish oil supplements.  Recent research not only confirms previous findings but expands our understanding of the multitude of health benefits of fish consumption. In a recent review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers from Harvard Medical School confirmed that Omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish can reduce our risk of the major reason for premature death in America – heart-related malfunction.  The researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids helped reduce plasma triglycerides, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure – three major determinants of heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids were also found to improve the heart’s efficiency, lower inflammation (a key catalyst in many diseases), and improve vascular function. Previous research has shown that fish oil plays a crucial role in protecting the muscle of the heart from deadly arrhythmias and cardiac arrest. In fact, every year over 250,000 Americans die suddenly when the heart stops because of irregular heart muscle contractions or sudden fibrillation. Fibrillation occurs when the heart muscle beats wildly out of control and pumps no blood. It can occur even without any prior history of heart disease. Fish oil can save lives by regulating heart rhythms, thereby lowering the risk of fatal arrhythmias. Fish oil also helps the heart by releasing a chemical, nitric oxide that instructs our arteries to relax and open so blood can smoothly flow through arterial walls. In summary, here are 10 ways fish oil fights heart disease.

 TEN WAYS FISH OIL FIGHTS HEART DISEASE

  1. Lowers the risk of deadly Fibrillation (irregular heart beats)
  2. Lowers Triglycerides (fats in the blood stream)
  3. Raises good HDL cholesterol
  4. Lowers resting heart rate and blood pressure
  5. Reduces cellular inflammation
  6. Inhibits platelet clumping (clotting)
  7. Increases fibrinolytic activity (clot dissolving)
  8. Reduces blood vessel constriction
  9. Increases blood flow
  10. Makes cell membranes more flexible

Fish containing the highest amounts of omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, cod, herring, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, and arctic char. Fresh, frozen, or canned fish is fine.. Cheaper canned pink salmon has more omega-3 than red. Select canned tuna in water to preserve the omega-3s. Sardines canned in their own oil, labeled sild oil, have the most omega-3s. Wild caught is always safer than farm-raised; less risk of contaminants and higher levels of omega-3s. Fish oil supplements are a productive and facile way to obtain omega 3 fatty acids. Carlson is my brand of choice available at the Vitamin Shoppe or on-line at Vitacost.com. Carlson “molecularly distills” their fish oil which is a meticulous manufacturing process to remove contaminants such as mercury, metals, and chemicals found in fish. You will always save money if you ingest the oil ($ per gram) instead of the capsules. Consult with your primary health advisor before taking any fish oil supplements if you are on any kind of blood-thinning medications. A future article will review the amazing brain and neurological benefits of fish oil concerning improved memory, mental acuity, and mood and an update on the landmark Framingham study that found that people with high blood levels of DHA (fish oil) cut their risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, by half!

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