Omega-3 Fish Oil and Elevated LDL
Cholesterol is present in the bloodstream and is made up of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). The body uses cholesterol to maintain cell membranes, produce hormones and vitamin D. Diet is important for regulating blood cholesterol levels and the consumption of omega-3 fish oils may help keep blood cholesterol at a healthy level.
LDL and HDL
Too much LDL in the blood can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol is a waxy substance and LDL can build up in the lining of blood vessels and stick to the arterial and venial walls, forming deposits called plaque. Too much plaque can narrow the diameter of blood vessels making them rigid and can slow or block blood flow. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol. This is because HDL carries excess cholesterol to the liver, where it is removed from the body.
Fish is high in protein, low in saturated fat and packed with heart healthy omega-3s. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines and albacore tuna are good sources of omega-3. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume fatty fish at least twice each week. However, overconsumption of fish is not recommended due to mercury levels. Certain types of fish have less mercury than others. Omega-3 can also be obtained by consuming flaxseed and walnuts as well as other plant-based foods.
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil supplements are available in pill form as well as liquid form. According to The American Heart Association, patients with a history of coronary artery disease may benefit by increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. It is recommended that patients consume at least 1,000 mg, of fish oil daily, with a maximum daily dose of 3,000 mg. Consult a doctor to determine if adding fish oil supplements is appropriate for you.