Fish Oil For Lowering Cholesterol

by Melanie Thomassian Health Professional

Most people know fish oil is good for them, but exactly why and how much is needed, is a little uncertain in most people's minds.

Fish oil has, indeed, been shown by researchers to reduce your chance of getting heart disease, by improving blood cholesterol levels. If you are at risk for coronary heart disease, studies show that you can benefit from taking fish oil, due to the healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Your body doesn't product its own omega-3 fats, and this is why you need to get them from your diet, or from supplements.

How Are Fish Oils Beneficial?

Research tells us that triglycerides, which are are associated with heart disease, are reduced (20 to 50 percent) by taking fish oil.

Fish oil is also likely to be beneficial for preventing heart disease and heart attacks. If you already have heart disease, it may be helpful in lowering your risk of dying from the disease.
Fish oil may help to reduce high blood pressure, albeit a modest reduction.

And, there is some evidence to suggest that eating fish, and taking fish oil supplements, improves weight loss outcomes, amongst many other potential health benefits.

So, how can you get a healthy dose of fish oil into your diet?** Diet**

First and foremost, you need to eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

That means regular consumption of fish (white and oily) at least twice each week.
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, lake trout, and albacore tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Also, oils rich in alpha-linolenic acid (like soybean oil), nuts (like walnuts), flax (both seeds and oil). Other foods are also helpful, such as tofu, scallops, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.

Fish Oil Supplements

Secondly, you should take a fish oil supplement, which is high in EPA and DHA. Your supplement needs to have at least 850 mg of DHA and EPA per gram of fish oil.

If you already have coronary heart disease, you should consume 1g of EPA and DHA every day, preferably from oily fish.

If you need to lower your triglyceride levels, you need 2g to 4g of EPA and DHA each day, in capsule form.

If you cannot tolerate fish oil, a flax oil supplement with at least 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids, taken each day, can be helpful.

As always, it's wise to seek the advice of your doctor, before beginning to take any new medication. They will be able to discuss any risks factors, and check which medication you are currently taking.

Avoid Cod Liver Oil

Although cod liver oil contains omega-3 fats, you should avoid taking it, as it also contains high levels of vitamin A, which can be toxic, therefore care needs to be taken.

Melanie Thomassian
Meet Our Writer
Melanie Thomassian

Melanie is a dietitian and writer. She wrote for HeatlhCentral as a health professional for Food & Nutrition and Heart Health.