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FishA new analysis of prior studies strongly supports the use of omega 3 fatty acids for prevention of heart disease. (Mayo Clinic proceedings, January 2017, pp 15-29). Coronary events included fatal and non-fatal heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, and angina pectoris (chest pain). Omega 3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA, derived from foods or supplements.

The greatest response was seen in individuals with elevated triglycerides and high LDL cholesterol. Those with the highest intake of omega 3 fatty acids benefitted the most. An intake of 3 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA daily lowers triglycerides by 20-50%. The average American diet provides less than one gram of EPA and DHA daily. Unless you eat fish every day, I recommend taking 3 grams of EPA/ DHA daily, especially if you have a prior history of heart disease, or high triglycerides or LDL cholesterol.

Other studies have shown that fish oil lowers blood pressure by 2-4 points. Fish oil also reduces blood markers of inflammation.

Fish OilA simple blood test called the omega-3 index measures the omega-3 content in red blood cell membranes. You can have this done through our office. Otherwise, just take fish oil supplements. Some folks are bothered by an oily taste in their mouths after swallowing the capsules. This can be averted by using enteric coated capsules. Some people have noted skin bruising from fish oils, especially when taking other blood thinners such as aspirin. However, I have never seen fish oil cause active bleeding.

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