Fish Oil and Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a disease of inflammation that can be caused by consumption or pro-inflammatory foods. The typical Western diet is high in pro-inflammatory foods and this explains the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in those that consume it. Eating foods that are anti-inflammatory is one way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and in this regard fish oils may be particularly beneficial. This relates to the fact that fish oils contain the long chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5 n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6 n-3). These two fatty acids feed into the essential fatty acid pathway and contribute to an anti-inflammatory effect because the metabolites of this pathway inhibit the formation of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. This provides a significant benefit to the consumer, and this effect can be significant at improving long term health if the intake of these omega-3 fats is maintained. Fish that contain high amounts of these beneficial oils include mackerel, sardines (pilchards), trout, fresh tuna and salmon. 

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Weitz, D., Weintraub, H., Fisher, E. and Schwartzbard, A.Z. 2010. Fish oil for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Cardiology in Review. 18(5): 258

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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