People often take statin drugs to keep cholesterol in check. Now there’s an additional step people concerned about their cholesterol can take. A study recently published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease found that among people already taking statin drugs to control their cholesterol, omega-3 supplements provided an extra measure of support for cardiovascular health.*[i]
The subjects of the study were 20 adults taking statins. For eight weeks, half the group also took a daily dose of 4 grams of omega-3s (supplying both EPA and DHA) along with the statins, while the other group took the cholesterol medication alone. After a washout-period of eight weeks, the groups switched places, so each subject had one period taking the omega-3s and another period not taking them.
Researchers found omega-3 supplementation helped maintain systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels already within a normal range and promoted the flexibility of large arteries.* It also helped maintain triglyceride levels already within a normal range.* ApoB, which transports LDL cholesterol to body tissues, was also maintained within normal limits.* (There was no effect on the flexibility of small arteries.)
Why are omega-3s beneficial to arterial health? Do they work indirectly, by helping to maintain healthy blood pressure? Or do they work directly on the artery wall? Researchers believe the latter explanation is more likely.
If you’re watching your cholesterol, there are several steps you can take:
1) eat a lot of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans;
2) maintain a healthy weight;
3) avoid unhealthy fats like trans fats;
4) eat a lot of omega-3 rich foods such as fatty fish, walnuts, flax seeds, and seaweed, or take an omega-3 supplement.
* 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. Do not change or stop taking current medications without first consulting your health care professional. Our supplements are not a replacement for any medication, including statins, or medical care or treatment.
[i] Chan DC, et al.. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2016 Aug 3. pii: S0939-4753(16)30119-3.