Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil: Omega 3 Leads to Lower Risk of Heart Disease

By far, the most popular nutritional supplement today is fish oil. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, which have been proven to have a protective effect against heart disease and other secondary cardiovascular illness.

The best research available shows strong evidence that one of fish oil’s benefits, probably the one it most effective for, is lowering the risk of secondary cardiovascular disease. This is a benefit that comes directly from the anti-inflammatory effects.  Omega 6 fatty acid is inflammatory, which can lead to heart disease and stroke over time, and so the offsetting effects of the omega 3 in fish oil can help reduce this effect.

Fish oil may also help reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer, although research is still young in this area. Interestingly, fish oil supplements have been in the news lately as several popular brand names were tested for PCB, a potential carcinogen found in the environment. The tests found them to be higher than they should be. Do keep in mind though that most of those tested were fish liver oil (such as the popular cod liver oil), which contains higher levels of PCB compared to just regular fish oil. Also, a recent study on Norwegian women found no connection between consumption of high amounts of PCB and increased risk of cancer.

What about flax seed oil as a plant source of omega 3? Flax contains an omega 3 called ALA. But the body requires DHA and EPA, and so must break down the ALA first, which is less efficient. If you stick to fish oil, it already contains the necessary DHA and EPA. Look for a quality supplement (no cheap off brand) with high levels of DHA and EPA; say, around 600 to 1000 mgs. Generally, it is recommended to take two of these supplements per day.

Adding fish oil to your diet is probably a wise health choice and may help you avoid some of the most deadly diseases in the modern world.

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