Monday, February 27, 2012

Omega-3 Fats Improve Insulin Resistance to Improve Heart Health

Compelling evidence now exists to demonstrate that heart disease is largely caused by the proliferation of increased levels of small, dense LDL cholesterol particles that have become oxidized in the blood and abnormalities relating to insulin resistance. Both factors combine to deal a potentially deadly punch to the vascular system, leading to metabolic stress, diabetes and increased risk for a heart attack.

Published studies appearing in the journals Nutrition Review and Biological Psychology detail the impact of nutritional intervention with the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA to improve insulin signaling and lower heart disease risk. A balanced diet including fatty fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil or fish oil supplementation are shown to significantly improve biological markers associated with diabetes and cardiovascular pathogenesis.

Omega-3 Fats Lower Risk for Heart Disease in Women by 38 Percent
Many people discount the effect of mental stress on physical health and cardiovascular disease in particular. Overt demands on the nervous system that result from unresolved stress result in excessive demands on the circulatory system, reduced blood flow to cells and increased levels of damaging inflammation. Combined with a diet favoring poor balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, the stage is set for a dangerous deterioration of the cardiovascular system.

Researchers examined 3277 Danish men and women over a period of 23 years to determine the effect of long-chain omega-3 fats on cardiac health. Scientists found that 471 cases of ischemic heart disease (IHD) occurred during the study period. A detailed analysis of the results showed that those participants with the highest intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 fats (1.4 total grams of EPA/DHA per day) experienced the highest risk reduction for IHD. The study authors noted that omega-3 fat intake “was especially clear for women, who had a statistically significant 38 percent risk reduction for heart disease. Men also showed a benefiting trend of 26 percent risk reduction.”

Omega-3 Fat Supplementation Regulates Insulin Function to Lower Inflammatory Disease Risks
Further evidence demonstrating the importance of omega-3 fats for optimal human health is published in the journal Nutrition Review. Adiponectin is a potent hormone secreted by white adipose tissue that regulates insulin function and reduces inflammation in your circulatory system. As central abdominal fat increases, adiponectin levels go down, increasing the risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Researchers found that omega-3 fats from diet or supplementation, combined with dietary fiber and exercise increased adiponectin levels up to 60%, dramatically lowering the risk from inflammatory disease and metabolic syndrome.

An extensive body of research continues to mount showing the importance of omega-3 fats as a cornerstone for disease prevention and ideal health. Stress is a part of everyday life that directly impacts disease development and progression on the cellular level. Research confirms that a healthy diet favoring omega-3 fat sources or distilled fish oil supplements (1.2 to 1.4 grams EPA/DHA per day) can negate the effect of stressors that cause inflammation, metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.

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