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.
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.
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.
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: An Inverse Relationship Between Plasma n-3 Fatty Acids and C-Reactive Protein in Healthy Individuals
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Increases the Rate of Protein Synthesis in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
- Linus Pauling Institute: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- University of Maryland School of Medicine: Omega-3 Fatty Acids