Does Fish Oil Lower Triglycerides or Not?
For the past several years, the buzz about fish oil has been in the news as a means of enhancing several factors in relation to our overall health. Fish oil is very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish that are the most rich in Omega-3 are tuna, salmon, mackerel, mullet, sturgeon, anchovy, sardines, bluefish, trout and herring. One gram of omega-3 fatty acids is included in about three and a half ounces of fish.
Does fish oil lower triglycerides or not, is one question that comes up a lot when the fish oil discussion takes place. Fish oil has been shown to lower blood pressure, and has been shown that it can help to reduce stroke and heart disease.
Triglycerides are a fatty substance, or a lipid that is in the blood. When we eat food, our bodies converts food that is not needed right away into triglycerides, which are initially stored in the fat cells of the body. Later on, when the body needs a boost in energy, there are hormones that release those triglycerides. An example would be a needed boost of energy between meals.
If a person regularly eats more calories than the body needs, then excess triglycerides will be in the blood. The name for excess triglycerides in the blood is called hypertriglyceridemia.
According to the American Heart Association, a normal range of triglycerides in the blood is a level of 100mg per dl. (milligrams per decliter). High readings would fall into the 200 to 500mg/dl ranges and would need to be attended to.
What doctors suggest
Usually a doctor will suggest that a patient who has high triglycerides change the diet, and get more exercise, as both will affect the triglyceride level. The triglyceride levels can be easily checked with a blood test.
There is evidence that people with consistently high triglycerides are more susceptible to heart problems and stroke, although the exact correlation is unclear at present. Losing weight, reducing calorie intake, avoiding refined and sugary foods, eating fats that are healthier, and limiting cholesterol in you diet are helpful in the reduction of triglycerides in your blood.
But what evidence is there to answer the question of “does fish oil lower triglycerides”?
Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids actually do reduce the level of triglycerides in our blood, as evidenced by the FDA approved fish oil that is distributed by prescription, called “Lovaza.” This is used to treat hypertriglyderidema in families who have extremely high triglyceride levels, usually in the 500mg/dl ranges and higher. The triglyceride levels in these people can be reduced literally by hundreds of milligrams, and there are studies that abound to prove it.
The studies and the results in actual medical situations point out that the omega-3 fatty acids are so much more beneficial in triglyceride reduction than other methods, that there is no comparison. The Omega-3 products are actually 10 times more effective than anything else.
Triglycerides are made of three (thus the name) fatty acids that are arranged on a glycol (sugar) platform. The form of most fatty acids in the bloodstream are in the form of triglycerides. In other words, fatty acids in and of themselves very rarely appear as free fatty acids that are unbound to the glycerol. So fatty acids appear as triglycerides carried by various lipoproteins (the carriers) such as HDL, VLDL and LDL.
Now when triglycerides are appearing at higher levels, which would be at levels higher than 100mg/dl, they will interact with some of the other items and particles in the bloodstream and will result in distorted function and sizes.
It is for this reason that particles like the LDL (low density lipoproteins) are formed, which are the most dangerous and disease causing objects. Most of the triglycerides are commonly formed by the excess ingestion of carbohydrates in a person’s diet.
The larger items that are formed through this process are called chylomicrons, and those along with the VLDL (very low density liprproteins) are the richest particles in triglycerides, as they are mostly just fat.
All of the evidence that has been substantiated thus far that show omega-3 fatty acids to be active in reducing triglycerides work in the following ways:
1. Omega-3 reduces the production of the VLDL by the liver.
2. Omega-3 accelerating the chylomicron and VLDL elimination from the bloodstream.
3. Omega-3 actively ramps up the conversion of the fatty acids in the triglycerides to energy oxidation.
The energy conversion is an extremely important factor because that is precisely why triglycerides exist in the first place, but when they are excessively in the blood there seems to be a limit to them being oxidized naturally, but the Omega-3 enhances the process.
Omega-3 fatty acids, whether obtained from eating fish that contains it, or by taking supplements, is proven to be safe and to produce the desired results as noted.
Also because carbohydrates like sugar, corn starch and wheat flour all cause the liver to increase production of VLDL, the reduction of ingestion of these carbohydrates along with the introduction of fish oil in the diet is a winning strategy for the reduction of triglycerides in the blood.
Does fish oil lower triglycerides in the blood or not. The evidence is in and the result is a resounding yes! Fish oil, with its abundance of good Omega-3 fatty acid is necessary, plentiful and inexpensive and should be used in our diet for our good health.