You probably know that omega-3s are good for your heart.* That’s been documented in scientific research dating back to the early 1970s. But having a healthy heart isn’t enough, because your heart depends on blood vessels — including veins, arteries, and capillaries — to circulate blood to all parts of your body. The good news is that omega-3s also help the vascular side of cardiovascular health.*
Recently, a large meta-analysis of studies on omega-3s and vascular function showed that supplements help the vascular system work better.* A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College analyzed data from 16 placebo-controlled studies, which enrolled a total of 901 volunteers. The omega-3 dose ranged from 450 mg to 4.5 grams per day for an average of 56 days.
A major finding was that omega-3 supplementation was linked to a 2.3 percent improvement in flow-mediated dilation — a measure of blood vessels’ ability to relax.* (That’s important, because the more blood vessels relax, the more oxygen-rich blood flows to and from the heart.) Researchers also found that how much omega-3 you take makes a difference. In the low to medium dosage range, the more omega-3s folks took, the larger the improvement in their vascular function.*
Because the studies that the researchers analyzed used such divergent doses, they called for future studies to determine exact dosing recommendations. In the meantime, it seems wise to at least hit the low end of the studied dosage range: 450 mg of omega-3 daily. Supplementing with fish or flax seed oil can help bump up the omega-3s you get through your diet — especially if you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish, walnuts, or seaweed.
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.
 Wang Q, et al. Atheroscierosis. 2012 Apr; 221(2):536-43.