The benefits of omega-3 fish oil for the heart are undeniable. I don’t believe there is more research on any one nutrient, any one natural product, in humans and the heart (and I’ve worked with natural product research for 20 years).
Omega-3 fish oil is proven to reduce triglycerides, improve circulation, lower resting heart rate, normalize blood pressure, reduce inflammation and maintain healthier blood vessels. Adults who have more omega-3 (EPA and DHA) in their blood are less likely to die from sudden cardiac death or have a fatal first heart attack. And this is just the short list of benefits.
On the same token, there is poor understanding about omega-3 fish oil and LDL-cholesterol. Clinical research indicates that omega-3 fish oil may slightly increase LDL-cholesterol. If this happens, how can it be good?
Earlier this month, Dr. Andrew Weil addressed this topic in an email, and I’m glad he did. Maybe, together, we can better understand what is going on.
Having LDL-cholesterol in our blood is healthy, normal and necessary. Let’s take a closer look.
LDL-cholesterol (LDL-c) is transported in the blood in what are called ‘particles’. LDL-c particles can exist as small and dense particles; small, dense particles are considered damaging and they increase risk for heart disease. LDL-c particles can also exist as large and buoyant particles; large and buoyant particles are considered healthful and they reduce risk for heart disease.
Omega-3 fish oil makes LDL-c particles larger and more buoyant (e.g., healthier)
The Bottom Line: We need some LDL-cholesterol in our body (cholesterol has benefits, too). Omega-3 fish oil helps us have a healthier form of LDL-cholesterol and that reduces risk for heart disease. The levels may go up, but because the form is healthier, it is good.
Please write with questions or comments. I hope this is clear. Is it?