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The Pros Vs. Cons of Omega 3 Oil

author image William Gamonski
William Gamonski is a graduate of St. Francis College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health promotion and sciences. He was a dietetic intern at Rivington House and has been a personal trainer for the past two years. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in nutrition.
The Pros Vs. Cons of Omega 3 Oil
An overhead view of plant-based foods rich in omega 3. Photo Credit AlexPro9500/iStock/Getty Images

Omega-3 oil contains the unsaturated fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. These healthy fats cannot be manufactured by the body and therefore need to be obtained from diet or supplementation. Research suggests that omega-3 oil can provide several health benefits but may also raise a few concerns. Consult your health care provider before taking any supplements.

Cardiovascular Disease Protection

C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation that is associated with cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia explored the relationship between DHA and EPA status and C-reactive protein levels in the body in healthy individuals. They reported in the September 2009 issue of the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” that C-reactive protein was inversely related to blood levels of EPA and DHA. Participants with the highest C-reactive protein had significantly lower blood levels of EPA and DHA.

Increase in Muscle Protein Synthesis

In research reported in the February 2011 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” scientists from Washington University School of Medicine explored the impact of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the rate of muscle protein synthesis, or the buildup of muscle proteins actin and myosin inside muscle cells, in older adults. They discovered that subjects consuming omega-3 fatty acids for eight weeks experienced increases in muscle protein synthesis compared to those consuming corn oil.

Other Benefits

Omega-3 fatty acids benefit your heart and body in numerous ways. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that they raise your HDL or good cholesterol levels and lower your triglyceride levels; lower your blood pressure and prevent the build-up of plaque and blood clots which reduces your risk of stroke and heart disease. As if those benefits aren't enough, omega-3s also increase your bone strength by increasing your calcium levels; protect your eyes from macular degeneration; protect your brain from mood swings and cognitive decline; relieve your asthma symptoms and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Intake of omega-3s may also reduce your risk of several forms of cancer.

Higher Level of Bleeding

Omega-3 fatty acids might increase the risk for bleeding, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that up to 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day isn’t likely to cause bleeding. However, if you are at increased risk of bleeding, consult your health care provider before taking any omega-3 supplements.

Drug Interactions

Omega-3 fatty acids may interact with certain medications, including blood-thinning medications, diabetes medications, cyclosporine and cholesterol-lowering medications, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Therefore, consult your health care provider before consuming any omega-3 supplements if you are taking medications.

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