Have you been diagnosed with elevated triglyceride (TG) levels recently? Fish oils might just be what you are looking for. Recent studies have shown the benefits of age-old fish oils in curing cases of high TG levels. So, those small jelly-like capsules that are advertised on TV might just be good for you.
What do fish oils contain?
Fish oils are a great source of omega fatty acids, the good kind of fats. They are an essential part of the human diet. However, these magic molecules cannot be produced in our body. Therefore, it becomes necessary for us to get them from the foods we eat.
Fish oils contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are all basically omega-3-fatty acids. Don’t let these big names scare you, it’s just fish oil. Studies are continually being conducted to add to the evidence we already have on the beneficial effects of fish oils as supplements to your cholesterol-lowering medication.
How do fish oils work?
The exact mechanism of action of fish oils is still being studied, but some evidence points to the fact that the components of fish oils interfere with the production of triglycerides in your body. Because of this, the triglyceride levels in your blood start going down. Some studies also claim that fish oils can cause the preferential breakdown of fatty acids in your cells. Further, some studies have claimed that components of fish oil can cause the clearance of cholesterol from the blood. But, even though the exact mechanism is still unknown, the many benefits of using fish oil therapy have been reported in several studies.
What do the studies say?
One of the most popular studies in the field of fish oil components was the EVOLVE study. Scientists from various countries carried out a multinational trial to examine the effects of consuming 2 grams, 3 grams or 4 grams of fish oil components per day on the levels of triglycerides. The participants of the study had a TG value of more than 500 mg/dL and were given fish oil supplementation for 3 months. Results showed reductions of up to 30% in the levels of TG compared to just 4% in the control group. That’s good proof to start your fish oil supplement today.
How can you get these benefits of fish oil?
Fish oil capsules are readily available at the pharmacist as an over-the-counter medicine or they can also be taken as a prescription drug from your doctor. Based on your diet and your health condition your recommended daily amount for fish oil can vary from 2-4 grams.
If you are a non-vegetarian, then you can simply add freshwater fish – such as sardines, lake trout, herring, mackerel, and salmon – to your regular diet. This will not only give you the fish oils required by your body but also proteins, which would also help reduce cholesterol.
Taking pills every day may seem like an easier task, but cooking fish is not very difficult or time-consuming, and not to mention, it’s tastier! In case you do not like the after-taste of the fish oil capsules, some people recommend refrigerating the capsules before taking them.3So go ahead, take those gel capsules, or make fish a part of your regular meals. With these, fighting triglycerides and cholesterol should be a lot easier.
Always remember to speak to your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet and lifestyle, especially if you have already been prescribed medication to manage your triglycerides.
- DrugBank. Fish oils [Internet]. 2018, Jan 17 [updated 2019, May 01; cited 2019, Jul 11]. Available from: https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB13961.
- Kastelein JJ, Maki KC, Susekov A, Ezhov M, Nordestgaard BG, Machielse BN, et al. Omega-3 free fatty acids for the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia: the EpanoVa fOr Lowering Very high triglyceridEs (EVOLVE) trial. Journal of Clinical Lipidology. 2014 Jan-Feb;8(1):94-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2013.10.003.
- Hessel JA. Fish oil supplementation for management of dyslipidemia. Holist Nurs Pract. 2010 Jul-Aug;24(4):223-226. doi: 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181e901fb.