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Omega 3, Benefits



By Dr. Keith E. Lewis
May 9, 2008



The following conditions and/or disease processes have been shown to benefit with the use of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. 


1)  Cardiovascular disease. The consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids is inversely associated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Relatively low doses of Omega 3's have been shown to reduce the risk of secondary coronary events. Omega 3 fatty acids inhibit coagulation and promote vasodilatation and reduce inflammation, modify plasma lipid and protein concentration. Nonfasting plasma triglyceride concentrations are strong independent predictor of future myocardial infarction. Omega 3's reduce plasma triglyceride concentrations depending upon the specific dose. 


2) Atherosclerosis. Experimental epidemiological and interventional studies all suggest fish oils produce beneficial effects on thrombosis and atherosclerosis reducing procoagulant activities of monocytes. Autopsies performed by medical doctors reveal that the degree of atherosclerosis present in coronary arteries was inversely proportional to the amount of DHA in adipose or fat tissue. 


3)  Stroke. The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001 highlighted a study evaluating 79,839 women, ages 34 to 59 years, who were followed over a 14 year period. Women in the highest quintile for fish and Omega 3 essential fatty acid intake reduced risk for stroke by 72% and for thrombotic infraction by 67%. No relationship was found between fish or Omega 3 fatty acid consumption than the risk for hemorrhagic stroke. 


4)  Asthma. With the appearance of class of asthma medications, the leukotriene receptor antagonists, it is easy to see how Omega 3 fatty acids may work to relieve asthma symptoms, by displacing arachidonic acid and therefore preventing production of inflammatory leukotrienes, they may work as leukotriene inhibitors. In a recent study, children ranging in the age of 10 years old with asthma receiving EPA and DHA supplementation for 10 months were compared with controls. In the supplemented group only asthma symptoms were reduced in the supplemented group.


5)  Cancer. EPA and DHA show inhibitory effects on tumor growth. EPA inhibits cell division in some human cancer cell lines.  DHA inhibits growth of cultured metastatic melanoma cells. In undernourished patients with breast, lung, liver, GI and pancreatic malignancies, Omega 3 fatty acids inhibited immunomodulating effects increasing ratio of T-helper cells to T-suppressor cells, restoring tumor necrosis factor production. Survival was prolonged in both well nourished and undernourished patients. In Lancet 2001, it was reported that in a prospective 30 year study of 6272 Swedish men, those who eat no fish had two to three fold higher frequency of prostate cancer than those who ate moderate or high amount of fish oil.