#6 Omega-3 Fatty Acids

omega3The third targeted antioxidant we recommend is omega-3 fatty acids. It is often referred to as fish oil or EPA/DHA fatty acids, as many fish and other forms of seafood contain high levels, with salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines being particularly rich. Omega-3 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats (considered to be healthy fats) that play a crucial role in the moderation of blood glucose, triglycerides and lipids (cholesterol).

Numerous studies of people with chronic cardiovascular and diabetic conditions who received supplemental omega-3 fatty acids experienced notably improved blood sugar, triglyceride and lipid levels. Further, other studies have shown that supplementing omega-3 fatty acids reduces markers for oxidative stress. Most human studies examining omega-3 fatty acids have used a 1,000 mg to 1,800 mg daily dosage.

Here is a sampling of recent omega-3 research results:

Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation impact on inflammation after exercise in untrained men. Forty-five men were divided into three groups, one receiving 1,800 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, one group receiving placebo, and a control group receiving no supplementation. All men participated in an eccentric exercise program, and researchers measured blood plasma inflammation markers before and after exercise. The omega-3 group demonstrated significantly less elevation in inflammation markers after the exercise program than either the placebo or control group.[1]

Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids correlated with sudden cardiac arrest. Twenty-five sudden cardiac arrest survivors had their blood drawn shortly after physicians stabilized the patients. Researchers looked at blood plasma concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and found depressed levels in these patients compared to healthy subjects and other study subjects who experienced a myocardial infarction (heart attack) without sudden cardiac arrest. The researchers noted an earlier study, which showed that providing patients with 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids shortly after a heart attack reduced the risk of sudden cardiac-related deaths by 45 percent in the 3.5-year follow-up period.[2]

Low-dose omega-3 fatty acids supplementation improves mild to moderate depression in elderly subjects. In this study, 66 subjects with an average age of 65 who suffered from mild to moderate depression were divided into two groups — one receiving 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily, the other receiving a placebo supplement. Before and after the six-month study, the researchers asked the participants to complete a standardized depression questionnaire. They found the omega-3 group experienced statistically significant lower depression symptoms than the placebo group.[3]

Next: Top Supplement #7 – Combat the Long-term Ravaging Effects of Oxidative Stress


[1] Tartibian B, et al. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011 March; 21(2):131-137.
[2] Aarsetoey H, et al. Lipids. 2011 February; 46(2):151-161.
[3] Tajalizadekhoob Y, et al. European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience. 2011 February 12 (epub online ahead of print).

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