Omega 3 for a Healthy Heart
Courtesy of WIN, Ltd
Significant intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish or taking a dietary supplement may help reduce the risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or cerebral stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to help prevent or reduce the severity of a second heart attack.
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Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood lipids, blood pressure and blood clotting, and help prevent atherosclerosis and cardiac arrhythmia. omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fatty fish. These include sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon. To help prevent heart attack, increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more fish or taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement. About 1 to 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day is the dose that doctors recommend to prevent heart disease. You can get that much by eating fatty fish 2-4 times per week, or you can take omega-3 supplements.
In the past 20 years, the United States has provided millions of dollars in funding to major universities and research facilities to study omega-3s heart-healthy benefits. While the initial focus was on reducing elevated levels of LDL, triglycerides, and VLDL all long known by the medical community to be a major cause of arteriosclerosis and hypertension, meanwhile increasing levels of valuable HDL researchers have found that without a sufficient supply of omega-3s, the body will use saturated fat (omega-6) to construct cell membranes. This is bad news as cell membranes are less elastic, a situation that can have a negative effect on the heart because it makes it harder to return to a resting state.
2-4 grams per day can balance the risk factors
If you have had a heart attack or you have risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, elevated blood lipids (particularly triglycerides), or if you are a smoker, you will benefit from taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements, but the dose should be doubled to 2 to 4 grams per day. In an English study (1), half the heart attack patients were advised to increase the intake of fatty fish or take omega-3 supplements upon leaving the hospital, while the rest were given no such advice. The difference in mortality was significant after just three months and the positive effect of supplementation persisted in subsequent years.
(1) Burr ML et al. The Lancet 1989;241:757-761
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