The Fish Oil Cholesterol Connection.
Will It Work For You?

The fish oil cholesterol connection has often been studied. When you take fish oil, you are not only helping your heart. Fish oil studies have shown that you are helping your whole body work more efficiently.

O.K., maybe it doesn't have to be fish oil, but every body needs Omega 3 fatty acids and one of the best sources of Omega 3 is fish oil.

Even if you do not have high cholesterol, Omega 3s will support brain function, improve blood circulation, and keep your cholesterol levels in the healthy range. They are essential for our cells to operate the way they are designed.

Without these fatty acids, our bodies would slowly degenerate and the aging process will speed up.

It is even more critical that you supplement with Omega 3 fatty acid supplements if you have high triglycerides. Keep reading to see what science has proven about the fish oil cholesterol lowering benefits.

Learn more about the importance of these nutrients on our Omega 3 benefits page.

What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

To understand fish oil for lowering cholesterol, you must first understand Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) fall into the category of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are often referred to as "good" fats.

Fatty acids are the source of all fats and our cells require them to be able to function properly. This is why it is extremely important to supplement with fish oil while on a low fat diet.

The most effective components of Omega 3 in fish oil are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)with DHA being the most important. The human brain is more than 50% DHA fatty acids.

To learn about the fish oil supplements we take, visit the Xtend-Life natural products site.

Cold water fish with high oil content are the only food source with substantial levels of EPA and DHA.

Another form of Omega 3 can be obtained from plant sources. This is ALA (alpha linolenic acid) which our bodies must then convert into EPA and DHA.

If we rely solely on ALA intake to meet our needs for EPA and DHA, many of us will develop a deficiency. Therefore it is imperative that we obtain these fatty acids by greatly increasing the amount of fish we eat or by taking a fish oil supplement daily.

What Do Fish Oil Studies Tell Us?

The interest in the fish oil cholesterol lowering connection began in the 1950s. It was discovered that even though Eskimos had a high cholesterol diet, they had a very low incident of heart disease. This low rate of heart disease is believed to be due to the large amount of fish they were eating each day, about 1 lb. per person.

Since that time the interest in Omega 3 and fish oil to lower cholesterol has snowballed. There have been hundreds of science based fish oil studies completed. The fish oil cholesterol connection has been studied in depth.

The cholesterol studies have shown that there is strong evidence that fish oil is extremely effective in lowering triglyceride levels in humans. Some studies have shown as much as a 40% decrease in triglycerides. This alone is sufficient reason to be taking fish oil supplements.

It appears that the positive effects of Omega 3 add to the benefit of cholesterol medications. So, if you are taking statin drugs and found them to be effective in lowering your cholesterol, taking a fish oil supplement may lower your triglycerides even more.

Studies into the fish oil cholesterol lowering benefits have been less clear. Some studies on rats have shown definite improvement in cholesterol.

However, while human trials have shown that it is effective for lowering triglycerides, the ability of fish oil to lower ldl and average cholesterol levels has not been proven.

How much fish does it take to provide
the EPA and DHA I need?

When considering how much fish oil to take don't base it on the total amount of fish oil. Rather, look at the amount of DHA and EPA. A good guideline for healthy people is 500 mg daily of DHA + EPA.

If you are attempting to lower your triglycerides, that amount needs to be increased substantially. Some studies showed that 2000 to 4000 mg were needed. Due to it's ability to act as a blood thinner, take this high of a dose of DHA +EPA, only under a doctor's supervision.

The USDA data shows that in order to obtain 1000 mg of DHA + EPA from fish you need to consume the following amount of fish:

Salmon... 1.4 to 4.5 oz.
Trout.... 3 to 3.5 oz.
Cod...... 23 oz.
Haddock.. 15 oz.
Sardines. 2 to 3 oz.
Tuna..... 2.5 to 12 oz.
and sole. 7 oz.

The Bottom Line

Even though the fish oil cholesterol lowering connection is not proven, should you or should you not be taking a fish oil supplement? Look at this list of benefits and decide for yourself.

Fish oil studies have proven these benefits:

1. Lowers triglyceride levels
2. Reduces death rate in individuals who have already had a heart attack
3. Helps reduce blood pressure
4. Lower rate of death from heart disease
5. Reduces the incident of blood clots
6. Stimulates blood circulation
7. Helps with back pain

Then there are these areas that are being researched as being potentially helped:

1. Brain health-ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and Depression
2. Inflammatory bowel disease
3. Skin disorders
4. Rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain

According to the American Heart Association:

Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart
of healthy people, and those with, or
at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

If you are taking fish oil to lower cholesterol you may be disappointed. However, the fish oil cholesterol connection shows up mainly in it's ability to lower triglycerides which is still extremely important. Given all the other health benefits that fish oil studies have shown, we believe it should be a part of everyone daily routine.

Click here to learn about the purified fish oils we take ourselves to get our Omega 3's. Visit: the Xtend-Life natural products site.

More than the Fish Oil Cholesterol Connection on our Cholesterol Supplements page.