Fish Oil Supplements Improve Systemic Inflammation to Slash Heart Disease RiskNovember 1, 2012
It is a commonly accepted fact within the medical research community that systemic inflammation is a primary cause of many forms of cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases that take the lives of millions well before their time. Poor diet, stress and lifestyle factors all contribute to inflammation that overworks body metabolism and encourages damage to the delicate vascular system that feeds our heart. Production of inflammatory chemical markers such as cytokines are accelerated over months and years of exposure that creates an environment known to encourage the spread of cancer cells and propagate cardiovascular disease.
Two independent studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have found that supplementing Omega-3 fats lowers the release of inflammatory biomarkers that are involved in damage to cells called soluble adhesion molecules. Researchers have demonstrated that Omega-3 fats from fish oil supplements effectively lower levels of circulating adhesion molecules to decrease risk of atherosclerosis and counteract the pro-carcinogenic action of these damaging compounds produced by long-term inflammation throughout the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit Adhesion Molecules to Lower Heart Disease Risk
To prepare their work, researchers conducted a meta-analysis on eighteen separate studies that examined the effect of soluble adhesion molecules (sICAM-1) and Omega-3 fats and their impact on systemic inflammatory markers in the body. The results showed that Omega-3 supplements were associated with sICAM-1 reductions in both healthy people and subjects with abnormal blood lipid levels.
The scientists commented “This finding suggests that omega-3 PUFA reduces inflammation by selectively inhibiting monocyte activation rather than endothelial activation… and supports the notion that omega-3 PUFA can be supplemented to prevent the development and progression of atherosclerosis.” The Omega fats were found to lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol molecules and decrease particle size, both factors known to lower cardiovascular risk. The fats were also found to inhibit platelet aggregation or clumping and resolve particle adhesion properties to allow blood to flow freely through the vascular arteries.
Eat Fish Three Times Each Week or Supplement Daily with Distilled Fish Oil
A second research study performed in France determined that Omega-3 fats lower breast and prostate cancer risk in a cohort of 408 individuals with the disease, compared to 760 healthy control subjects. The scientists found a direct correlation between cancer development and Omega-3 supplementation, again by inhibiting the expression of adhesion molecules required for cancer cells to propagate.
Oily fish is the natural food source for pre-formed DHA and EPA Omega-3 fats. Many people avoid fish due to mercury contamination and unknown harvesting methods, making supplementation with a moleculary distilled form a viable option. Plant-based Omega-3 sources such as walnuts and flax seeds do not provide a good source of the necessary pre-formed long-chain fats, and while they are very healthy foods, do not yield a reliable supply of EPA and DHA fats. Read supplement labeling for a brand yielding 1,200 to 2,400 mg each day of combined EPA/DHA Omega-3 fats to lower the risks associated with heart disease and cancer.