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How Does Fish Oil Reduce Cholesterol?

Updated on September 14, 2011

Fish is a good source of those omega three fatty acids you've probably been hearing a lot about.

According to the American Heart Association we know from scientific studies that those fatty acids are of benefit to our hearts. Not only for healthy people, but those who have cardiovascular disease or are at a high risk of it.

But it's the 'long chain' fatty acids in omega three that are known to provide most of the clinical benefits we so far understand (heart health is not the only reason why we need omega three fish oil)

And that means EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

First though we need to understand a bit more about cholesterol itself.

What Is Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a normal vital part of our bodies. It makes up part of the membrane around every cell. Without it, our bodies simply don't work - so it's not actually as 'bad' as the press it gets.

Now cholesterol is moved around the body using special molecules called lipoproteins.

You've probably heard of the three main types of these already: LDL, HDL and triglycerides.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) moves cholesterol from the liver, where it is made, to the cells. HDH (high-density lipoprotein) takes back to the liver from the cells where it's disposed of. Triglycerides are the chemical form that most fat exists both in the body and in our food.

So the danger point in our bodies comes when we have a high levels of LDL and those trigylcerides, together with low levels of HDL. You can see how that means more fats moving to our cells and less moving away, leading to a build up that can cause problems for our arteries and heart.

But How Does Fish Oil Benefit Our Hearts?

Omega three fatty acids are known to lower levels of triglycerides. Which we already know from clinical studies put us at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Further research has also shown that the DHA in fish oils actually reduces the levels of smaller denser particles of LDL cholesterol. And increase levels of larger HDL particles.

This is the opposite of the danger point we saw above. Which is why fish oils are now considered so beneficial for our cardiovascular system.

Pierce Holman is a health and wellness fan, and runs the website 'Omega Three Benefits'. It deserves a site all of it's own because omega three is one of the most exciting nutritional finds of modern times.

Don't miss my guide to sources of omega three fatty acids for more information on which fish contain the best source.

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    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wonderful helpful information. GBY.