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If you have friends who've been taking fish oil for years, you probably have even more friends who just started taking them.
It's the omega-3 fatty acids they've heard about and these good fats come bottled in almost any store.
Today omega-3 supplements may be the most common dietary supplements taken by adults in the US. But their benefits were discovered 25 years ago when epidemiologists noticed how few Eskimos died of cardiovascular disease.
Scientists believed then that it was because the Eskimos ate a lot of fish. Studies now show that, by eating more fish or taking more fish oil supplements, a person's level of triglycerides and blood pressure can fall.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. Too much of them increases a person's risk for heart attacks and stroke. The American Heart Association now recommends people with high triglycerides and coronary heart disease increase their consumption of omega-3 fats.
Omega 3s are found not only in fatty fish. They're also in some vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts and beans. So far, research shows these fats can be good for your heart… but new studies point to even greater potential.
Studies at the National Institutes of Health show omega-3s can also help people with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies of omega-3 effects are also being done on bipolar disorder, anxiety, Alzheimer's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma.
Researchers theorize omega-3 fatty acids work by reducing inflammation in the body. Many studies have shown inflammation plays an important role in many diseases like diabetes and obesity.
If you plan on starting omega 3 supplements, check the label to make sure they're screened for heavy metals. And talk to your doctor first if you have any medical conditions.
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