4 Ways Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promote Heart Health
In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a lot of positive news regarding omega-3 fatty acids over the past 10 years. Also called healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the cell membranes that line the human body's more than 3 trillion cells. To maintain optimal health, omega-3s are needed, but the body cannot produce them alone. That’s why getting them through foods and supplements is important. Here are four ways omega-3 fatty acid supplements can promote heart health.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Prevalent in fish and fish oils are omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), also known as n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). What makes them stand out is how integral they are to the function of cell membranes. These omega-3 fatty acids provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. In other words, they help keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Prevent Blood Clots
For optimal health, the goal is to have high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Often referred to as good cholesterol, HDL helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream. Meanwhile, it is ideal to have low amounts of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Also known as bad cholesterol, LDL can build up within blood vessels and cause blood clots, leading to a heart attack or stroke. That’s why higher levels of HDL are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and omega-3 acid ethyl esters can help. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, can lower LDL synthesis. This means that less low-density lipoprotein is created, giving you a large ratio of HDL to LDL.
Keep Your Arteries Clear
Keep an eye on your triglycerides. This lipid, or blood fat, stores unused calories to provide your body with energy later on. However, if levels are too high, this can increase your risk of heart disease. Blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. While they are usually flexible, arteriosclerosis, or the hardening or thickening of the artery walls, can impede artery function. One type of arteriosclerosis is atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque that causes your arteries to narrow and restrict blood flow. Fortunately, omega-3 fatty acids can help slow down plaque buildup and keep your arteries clear.
A natural response to bodily infections and damage is inflammation, so it’s vital to your health. Yet, chronic inflammation lasts long-term and contributes to heart disease. That’s where omega-3 fatty acids come into play. They can reduce the production of cytokines, which is an umbrella term for many types of protein messengers. While cytokines regulate the immune system’s response to disease and infection, an overproduction of cytokines can result in inflammation and lead to disease.
Maintain a Regular Heartbeat
A heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, occurs when faulty signals tell the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. While a person’s heartbeat can normally increase during exercise or slow down during sleep, some heart arrhythmias can be life-threatening. That’s why several cardiac societies recommend 1g/day of EPA and DHA. By doing so, you can help keep your heart beating at a regular rhythm.
Why You Should Supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Overall, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for heart health. As recognized by cardiac societies, EPA and DHA can do wonders for your heart health. From aiding in optimal cholesterol levels to fighting inflammation and maintaining a regular heartbeat, it’s clear that your body needs these healthy fats to function. Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids to function. Don’t neglect yourself by ignoring this vital part of your health regimen.
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