Monday, April 16, 2012

Improve Your “Internal” Plumbing With Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Improve Your “Internal” Plumbing With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve a number of different health conditions.

Conditions include: improving heart and eye health, lowering inflammation, and improving endothelial function of your veins and arteries.

Omega-3 fatty acids, according to some studies, have been shown to reduce inflammation, which could be present in your body and which may significantly improve the function of all systems in your body.

One system in particular, your vascular system, could play an important role in heart health.

One test, flow mediated dilation (blood flow through your vein), gives doctors, scientists, and cardiologists a pretty good indicator of the health of your heart.

Now, a recent study published in Atherosclerosis, could show the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the health and function of your vascular system.

Omega-3 and Vascular Health

There have been many studies showing the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and risk for cardiovascular disease (significant improvements).

It also showed that omega-3 fatty acids may affect endothelial function as it relates to flow-mediated dilation and endothelium-dependent vasodilation.

Flow-mediated dilation refers to blood flow through a vessel.  This blood flow dilates the vessel to allow for smoother travel.

Flow-mediation dilation has been used as a way to assess the health and function (or dysfunction) of your endothelium and vascular system.

Endothelium-dependent vasodilation refers to substances (nitric oxide and prostacyclin) that are produced by your vascular endothelium.  These substances cause relaxation of the endothelium, which allows for smoother blood flow.

The researchers wanted to see how omega-3 fatty acids affect the function of healthy endothelium.

The design of the study was a meta-analysis (collection of many studies related to their topic), where they looked at omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and endothelial cells.

They used 16 studies that included over 901 subjects.

The omega-3 dose was between 0.45 grams/day to 4.5 grams/day.

They noted, compared to the placebo group, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation showed a 2.30% increase in flow-mediated dilation.

In subgroup analysis, the researchers showed that the improvements from the omega-3 fatty acids could be associated with the overall health of the subjects, or with the dose of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

The researchers, however, did notice no change in endothelium-independent vasodilation when supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids.

Through their research, they concluded that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids could significantly impact endothelial function without affecting endothelium-independent vasodilation.

The Amazing Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The number one killer in the US, and in the world, happens to be heart disease.

Heart disease encompasses many different aspects such as high cholesterol, stiffening of the arteries due to endothelial dysfunction, and increased inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids, however, have been shown by research to lower inflammation and cholesterol, which may improve your heart health.

Now, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve vascular health, which may reduce the effects associated with endothelial dysfunction.

Including omega-3 fatty acids into your daily routine could lead to significant improvements in many different areas of health - especially heart health.

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