Globally, heart attacks cause the most deaths. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce high triglyceride levels. Heart health benefits from EPA, DHA, and ALA. EPA and DHA are plentiful in fatty fish, which the American Heart Association recommends at least twice a week. For those with heart disease, 1 gram daily is advised.
Omega-3s to reduce high triglycerides
Of all the cardiovascular benefits omega-3s confer, their ability to lower elevated triglycerides is the most impressive. Fat in the blood is referred to as triglycerides. Levels over 150 mg/dL are considered high risk.
- An analysis of 10 trials with 682 subjects saw omega-3 supplementation lowering blood triglyceride levels by almost 16% after 1-3 months compared to placebo.
- Patients taking statin drugs may be affected by omega-3 supplements, reports BMJ Open. Averaging 0.31 mmol/L, omega-3 supplementation lowered triglycerides across studies.
- 133 HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy were given 2.5 grams of omega-3s daily in an Italian study published in Nutrients. Omega-3 reduces triglycerides by 27% after 8 months, while placebo increases them by 4%.
- Research from Penn State College of Medicine gave patients with high triglycerides increasing daily doses of omega-3s from 1 gram up to 4 grams. They observed a 22-29% triglyceride reduction at the highest 4-gram dosage after 3-4 weeks.
- A daily intake of omega-3s over 2 grams reliably reduces high triglyceride levels, often by 15% or more. Effects seem to plateau around 4 grams per day, with minimal additional drops in triglyceride levels beyond that dosage.
For patients already on statin drugs like atorvastatin, adding prescription-strength omega-3s makes triglyceride improvement even more pronounced. It’s a valuable adjunct therapy.
Mechanisms behind omega-3s and lower triglycerides
Scientists have explored several mechanisms that explain how omega-3 fatty acids lower high circulating triglycerides:
- Reduced liver production – Omega-3s appear to inhibit an enzyme called sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 in the liver. Normally, this controls the synthesis of fatty acids and triglycerides, which omega-3s suppress.
- Increased lipid clearance – Omega-3s speed up the metabolism and beta-oxidation of triglycerides liver-wide. This removes them from circulation more quickly.
- Improved insulin response – By boosting insulin sensitivity, omega-3s help inhibit triglyceride synthesis and storage in fat cells.
- Decreased inflammation – Reducing inflammatory signaling and cytokines allows omega-3s to reduce immune-mediated triglyceride increases.
- Blunted VLDL secretion – Omega-3s reduce assembly and release of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) from the liver. This exports fewer triglycerides.
Through these mechanisms, truehealthdiary post on omega XL supplements favorably rebalance lipid metabolism and lower triglyceride readings on blood tests. This directly translates into slashed cardiovascular risks.
Interpreting blood triglyceride levels
To sum up, here’s how to interpret common blood triglyceride readings:
- Normal – Less than 150 mg/dL
- Borderline High – 150-199 mg/dL
- High – 200-499 mg/dL
- Very High – Over 500 mg/dL
The 2018 American Heart Association guidelines identify fasting triglycerides over 180 mg/dL as a major risk enhancer for cardiovascular events. Getting a simple blood draw to check triglyceride status is smart preventive medicine. If your levels are not where you’d like, daily omega-3 supplementation coupled with diet and exercise improvements safely normalize them. Your heart will thank you.