Fish Oil has been a favorite of the health food industry for so long that not only can you buy it in every drug store, but you can get it at every grocery store, and superstore. And for good reason, it’s great stuff. Fish Oil does wonders for inflammation, because of that can reduce joint swelling and increase function, increases oxygen transfer during exercise, and is good for your heart, to name a few. But are there still other benefits of Fish Oil? With the hypothesis that Fish Oil reduces hardening of the arteries, a new study looked at its effect in two different groups of people.
Fish oil is so valuable because it’s an excellent source of Omega 3’s which your body can’t produce. Despite the Madison Ave – Big Pharma hype of cholesterol drugs, good quality fish oil is actually better at controlling the 3 biggest risks factors of heart disease: reducing serum triglycerides and hemoglobin hA1C, and raising HDL…than statin drugs. But another very important factor of cardiovascular health as we age is the loss of the flexibility of our arteries often referred to as hardening of the arteries. This hardening or stiffening can lead to high blood pressure and stroke, as pushing against an artery that won’t give normally increases the pressure with each beat of the heart. So, being able to reduce this stiffness would be a big deal.
The study looked at the effect of Omega 3 on the arteries of a group of young people in their mid twenties, and a group of older people in their sixties. They were each given 4mg of Omega 3 per day for 12 weeks. The study found that the twelve week course of Omega 3 supplementation decreased an important measure of central arterial stiffness in the mid sixties, but not the mid twenties, study group.
The upshot? This was a small but significant study showing that in a small group of patients, the stiffness of the arteries was reduced in older people taking a short course of fish oil. This didn’t happen in young people, which is a good thing as they don’t usually have this problem and increasing the pliability of their arteries wouldn’t be a good thing. Very importantly though, Fish Oil is one of those things in which quality definitely counts, and though it’s available everywhere, the quality needed can really only be purchased at Health Food stores and through reputable online sources. Given those findings and the need to get the good stuff, is it worth it to go out and get some good quality fish oil? Probably!