Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been found to play a major role in cardiovascular health. They help decrease blood pressure, reduce inflammation in blood vessels, improve blood vessel wall function, stabilize plaques in your arteries, reduce fatty acids and tryglycerides, make platelets less sticky and improve nearly every metabolic process we have studied. There is no denying the benefits of Omega 3.
Whenever patients ask me about a new supplement or a new herb, I like to say, "Trust me if it did all that we'd make it into a pill and prescribe it to every one."
We have done just that. Many patients are on prescription Omega 3 oils. These are purified, FDA regulated and must contain what they say they contain.
Natural sources of Omega 3s are oily fish. Salmon, tuna, mackeral are the most common sources. Unfortunately, Americans don't eat much fish, hence we never get enough Omega 3s. Farm raised tuna and salmon don't have as much Omega 3s as ones caught in the wild.
Which Omega 3s?
That is the biggest question. You need to be taking Omega 3s that contain eicosapentaenoic acid EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are the two that have been studied the most and harbor all of the cardiovascular benefits of Omega 3 oils.
While flaxseed oil contains a lot of α-linolenic acid (ALA), it does not conatin the two that have shown the most benefit. If you are buying an Omega 3 product, make sure it contains DHA and EPA.
Read the ingredients. Although some fish oil products may say 1200mg or 1000mg, read the actual ingredients to see how much of each Omega 3 is really in each pill. You may find many of them only contain 300mg of DHA or EPA.
The other alternative is to talk to your doctor about being on prescription Omega 3. The quality and content is well controlled and you know what you are getting.