Omega-3 Fatty Acids (fish oil)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (fish oil) are found in fatty cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna) and in certain oils (canola, soybean, flaxseed, and walnut) plus in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens.


Research studies have shown that persons who consume Omega-3’s daily may drastically reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death. This is because the Omega-3’s may decrease triglycerides and inflammation, lower blood pressure, and help prevent blood clots from forming. These fatty acids may also reduce depression and help prevent dementia.


However, if you suffer from recurrent angina, congestive heart failure, or have symptoms that indicate your heart is not receiving enough blood flow at exercise, do not take Omega-3’s. In this situation, the Omega-3’s can stop the unstable cardiac cells from functioning, and those unstable cells may be critical for survival for someone with the above-listed symptoms.


“Consumption of between 450 and 1000 mg/d is recommended for those without and with known CHD, respectively.”1 Fish high in Omega-3’s should be eaten several times a week as a part of a cholesterol-lowering diet, but the same effect can be achieved by taking the Omega-3 capsules. When purchasing those capsules, look for a product that contains both EPA and DHA and that has had any pollutants removed.2 Also, look for a product with a USP label that verifies that the supplement contains exactly the amount of ingredients that the label states.3


If you prefer to get your fatty acids from fish, choose mackerel, lake trout, herring, tuna or salmon as the top choices for the maximum benefit. And, if you buy canned tuna, purchase the water-packed; pouring off the oil of oil-packed tuna discards up to 25% of the Omega-3’s, whereas draining the water off water-packed only loses 3% of the fatty acids.4

*Note: Prior to starting on fish oil, be sure to inform your cholesterol healthcare provider if you are taking Coumadin or any other blood-thinning medication, because fish oil can also reduce the time for blood clotting.5

1 Harris, W.S. Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids the most Important Nutritional Modulators of Coronary Heart Disease Risk? Current Atherosclerosis Reports 2004,6:447-452

2 Ornish, D. Eating Smart: New Warning on Omega-3’s. Reader’s Digest June 2006,

3 Fish Oil: A Vital Supplement. Cut Your Cholesterol 2005-08-17.

4 Get Hooked on Fish. Cut Your Cholesterol 2005-08-17.

5 Fish Oil: A Vital Supplement. Cut Your Cholesterol 2005-08-17.

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