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Gaining Health and Fighting Illness With Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Updated on March 18, 2009

A number of illnesses and conditions can be helped by using of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

This article reviews a number of conditions that can be helped by adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your health plan.

Several clinical studies have suggested that the use of Omega-3 fatty acids could help with the treatment of a number of health conditions. Heart disease and the problems that contribute to it are at the top of the list of diseases that could benefit from the use of Omega-3 fatty acids; however, a number of other illnesses have shown good results when treated with these highly beneficial oils.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids & Cholesterol

Cholesterol levels can be reduced with Omega-3 fatty acids.

People who use the Mediterranean Eating Plan or the Fill Your Plate Eating Plan have a tendency to have more HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or "good" cholesterol. People who eat high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish also have increased HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Triglycerides are fatty materials that circulate in the blood. Fish oil supplements provide two kinds of Omega-3 fatty acids called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These have been reported to reduce triglyceride levels and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) which is the "bad" cholesterol. And delightfully, walnuts have been found to lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people who have high cholesterol levels. This is because walnuts are rich in ALA (alpha linolenic acid).

Omega-3 fatty acids assist with high blood pressure

Quite a few clinical studies have suggested that the use of food plans or supplements that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure a great deal in people who have hypertension. Combined data from seventeen separate clinical studies found that people with untreated hypertension could experience a significant lowering of blood pressure by consuming at least three grams of fish oil every day.

High Blood Pressure Alternatives

Heart disease and Omega-3 fatty acids.

An excellent way to prevent and treat heart disease is to employ an eating plan that is low in fat and to replace foods that are high in saturated and trans-fat with foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This includes Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have found that EPA and DHA that is contained in fish oil are extremely helpful in reducing the risk factors for heart disease. This includes high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Additionally, there is quite a bit of evidence that Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent and treat atherosclerosis. It does this by preventing the development of plaque and blood clots which clog the arteries. It has been found that heart attack survivors who use an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement every day, reduce their risk of death dramatically. They are also far less likely to have additional heart attacks or strokes. Also, people whose food plan is rich in ALA-rich are far less likely to have a fatal heart attack.

Fish really is brain food!

Strokes are caused by plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries leading to the brain. Population-based clinical studies have found that using Omega-3 fatty acid will help protect against stroke.  As a matter of fact, if you eat two servings of fish every week (no more, no less) you can reduce your risk of stroke by up to fifty percent! Oddly, though, it seems that people who consume more than three grams of Omega-3 fatty acids a day may actually increase their risk of hemorrhagic stroke. This is a potentially fatal kind of stroke wherein an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures.

Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels and help with diabetes

People who have diabetes also have high triglyceride and low HDL levels. Adding Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to the eating plan helps to lower triglycerides. It also helps to lower apoproteins, which are the markers of diabetes. Additionally, it helps to raise HDL (high-density lipoprotein). So clearly, people who have diabetes can reap many benefits from eating foods or taking supplements that are rich in DHA and EPA. Because some individuals who have diabetes are not able to quickly convert ALA to a form of Omega-3 fatty acids that the body can use, ALA from walnuts or flaxseeds may not have the same benefit as DHA and EPA from fish oil. Also, slight increases in fasting blood sugar levels may be present in people who have type 2 diabetes when they take fish oil supplements.

Gain health with fish oil and lose weight as a side effect.

A lot of people who are overweight experience poor blood sugar control, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Clinical studies have suggested that overweight people who follow a program to gain health tend to achieve better control over their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A program to gain health includes a healthy eating plan, such as the Mediterranean Eating Plan or the Fill Your Eating Food Plan, regular exercise and fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. By making your food plan rich in fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring you will gain health steadily and lose weight subsequently.

You can't tell the players without a program!

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is "good" cholesterol.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is "bad" cholesterol.
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is “good” Omega-3 fatty acid found in plants.

Comments

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  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    9 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! Yes, with the research I have done for this and my several other articles on Omega 3 Fatty Acids, I have really come to believe that, if people would pay close attention to getting plenty of this supplement, a lot of prescription meds could be eliminated! :)

  • perfectweight profile image

    perfectweight 

    9 years ago

    Great article! I'm always looking for alternative ways of keeping my body functioning well as I don't take well to prescribed medications and this article helps me a great deal to find exactly what I need.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    9 years ago from Texas

    Thanks for the comment! Yes! You are what you eat! :D

  • BkCreative profile image

    BkCreative 

    9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    Glad we are finally realizing what the whole world knows - food is the best medicine - and will keep us healthy.

    Thanks for this info!

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