High Triglycerides? Bring them Down with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

High trigylcerides represent a well-known risk factor for diabetes and heart disease, and are commonly characteristic of metabolic syndrome. Bringing these blood fats down into a normal range should be a priority for any health-minded individual. Omega-3 fatty acids, the kind found in fish and fish oil supplements, have been studied and found to be helpful for this purpose. A review of previous research, conducted by heart disease specialists in Italy, has shed light on the effective dosage needed.

The researchers found that significant effects require more than a total of 2 grams daily of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the primary fatty omega-3 fatty acids. Less than 1 gram has not been found to be effective. The effect, they added, appears to be greater in patients with higher triglyceride levels to begin with, and optimal doses have been documented to bring down triglycerides by as much as 45 percent.

Access review here.

My Viewpoint: This analysis is very helpful, for both doctors and patients, as it tells us what potency is needed to help knock down elevated triglycerides. Omega-3s also increase HDL cholesterol, an important compound that removes toxic, oxidized cholesterol from the bloodstream. That’s what you want for heart health: low triglycerides and high HDL.

What This Means to You: If you have a triglyceride level over 140 mg/dl, you need to do something about it. I’ve seen some scores as alarmingly high as 500. Ideally I like to see a triglyceride level not higher than double or triple one’s HDL.

My Recommendation: Take enough omega-3 fatty acids. Fish/squid oil supplements are a good way to increase your intake. You also need to cut down on refined carbohydrates. Favor a Mediterranean-type diet. And start doing some regular exercise.

Learn more about Triglycerides

Learn more about Omega-3 and other healthy fats

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