This Supplement Really Does Help Prevent Heart Disease

Fish oil helps prevent heart disease.

There, I’ve said it, no disclaimers, no “these statements haven’t been evaluated by the FDA,” no ”results aren’t typical” in small print, just a clear, measured opinion statement based on literally hundreds of studies showing the overwhelming benefit of omega-3 fatty acids for just about every organ and system in the human body, especially the heart.

Of course, this is not just my opinion. In a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that women who consumed fish two to four times per week reduced their risk of heart disease by 30 percent. (Women who consumed fish five times a week or more had a whopping 45% less chance of dying of heart disease over the next 16 years compared to healthy women who ate fish less than once a month!) Another study, also in JAMA, found that men who had no evidence of prior heart disease but consumed omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources had a significantly reduced risk of sudden death.(2)

Fish oil cannot only help prevent heart disease; it can also help you survive it. Italian researchers reported in the journal Circulation that consuming 1 gram a day of omega-3 fatty acid supplements translated to a significantly reduced risk of sudden death among heart attack survivors. Heart attack survivors who took one gram (1000 mg) of fish oil supplements daily were 53% less likely to die of sudden death than the men who didn’t take the fish oil supplement.

As long ago as 2002, two distinguished professors at Harvard Medical School, Frank Wu, MD and Walter Willett, MD, examined a massive amount of research in the area of diet and heart disease, reviewing 147 studies to try and find out the basic principles of a heart-healthy diet. Though they ultimately came up with five, the number one principle was this: Increase your consumption of omega-3 fats from fish and fish oil supplements and even plant sources (such as flaxseed). (Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are the number one source of the only plant-based omega-3, alpha linolenic acid, and is a good option for those who cannot or will not eat fish or fish oil.)

Then there’s metabolic syndrome, a nasty constellation of symptoms that increases the risk of heart disease. Metabolic syndrome occurs when you have three of the following five conditions: abdominal obesity (apple shape), high triglycerides, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high fasting glucose (sugar). (At least 25% of the population has three of these symptoms.) A recent review of 21 studies found that individuals with metabolic syndrome had over 50% increased risk for heart disease and an incredible 74% increased risk for stroke!

Enter fish oil. Research published in December 2010 found that men in the top 10 percent with respect to intake from the fatty acids found in fish (median intake of 786 mg/day) had a 47 % lower risk of developing the metabolic syndrome as compared to those with lower daily intakes.

But wait, there’s more!

Omega-3’s from marine sources (fish oil) also reduce the risk of stroke, lower triglycerides (an independent risk factor for heart disease), reduce blood pressure and improve blood-clotting mechanisms.

A recent study in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing the omega-3’s from fish and fish oil reduce the risk of heart failure by 25%. Those who had the highest intake of these valuable omega-3’s had a very significant reduction in the risk of heart failure of 25 percent. That study came on the heals of a previous study by the same research team- a study that is one of the largest studies investigating the relationship between omega-3’s from fish and heart failure—found that the omega-3’s in fish reduce the risk by a remarkable 33 percent.

So here’s the deal. Cold water fish like wild salmon and fish oil capsules like Barlean’s Fresh Catch fish oil products contain two different omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docasahexanoic acid). These two important fatty acids have somewhat different but overlapping impacts on health. Both reduce one of the biggest contributors to degenerative disease on the planet- inflammation. When you take fish oil, you are consuming both of these vital and essential fats and protecting your heart- and your health- in a myriad of ways.

But it’s not quite as simple as just taking fish oil. It’s important to remember that the quality of the fish oil you consume depends on where it comes from. Fish oil from fish found in the Hudson River in New York, or from some contaminated river in another country may be cheap, but those fish are basically inedible and their oil has a high likelihood of being contaminated with heavy metals. Moreover, many of the big commercial chains like big box stores and drugstores buy in enormous quantities and keep their bottles sitting on the shelf for as long as a year, collecting dust and very likely going rancid.

In addition, it’s important to remember that the part of the fish oil you’re interested in is the EPA and DHA components; not the “total” fish oil. EPA and DHA are like the nuggets of gold found in the prospector’s tin. The rest is sand. Cheap fish oil supplements  trumpet “1000mg of fish oil per serving” on the label but that’s useless information. You want to know how much DHA and EPA is in each serving. One teaspoon of Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil contains a whopping 850 mg of EPA and 540 mg of DHA, a perfect ratio of the two fatty acids.

Every 2-capsule serving of the Signature Fish Oil Capsules contains 360 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA, just the amount recommended by most health organizations. Even better, the high-potency version (Ultra EPA-DHA) which is my personal favorite and the one I take daily, contains a whopping 783 mg of EPA and 400 mg of DHA per serving of two capsules.

Barlean’s Fresh Catch fish oil is made in small batches under rigorous quality control. Each batch is rigorously tested by independent, registered labs that verify the purity, freshness and potency. Barlean’s Ultra EPA-DHA even won the prestigious Five Star Rating from the IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards).I’m often asked what the most important supplement for heart health is. It’s an easy question and I have a ready answer: Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil.

I never miss a day of taking this important supplement, and recommend that you do the same.

Your heart will thank you!