Lowering Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Lowering Cholesterol and Blood Pressure With Omega-3 Oils by Jade Beutler, R.R.T., R.C.P. of sex hormones and bile acids…..
Scientific studies have shown normalization of blood lipids (fats) in hyper-lipidemic individuals when supplemented with Omega-3 fatty acids. Decreases in harmful LDL cholesterol, increases in favorable HDL cholesterol, and reduction of triglyceride levels have been demonstrated. Omega-3 fatty acids have the uncanny ability to break down cholesterol in the lining of blood vessels, as well as serving as a solvent for saturated fats in the diet. The end result is less cholesterol in the body and blood stream, and a reduced likelihood of cholesterol/heart disease complications in the future. Omega-3 Oils and Blood Pressure Each time the heart beats it sends blood coursing through the arteries. The peak reading of the pressure exerted by this contraction is the systolic pressure. Between beats the heart relaxes and blood pressure drops. The very lowest reading is referred to as the diastolic pressure. A normal blood pressure reading for an adult is: â¢ 120 (systolic) / 80 (diastolic) High blood pressure, or hypertension, refers to a reading of greater than 140/90. An elevated blood pressure is one of the major risk factors for a heart attack or stroke. Since heart disease and strokes account for over 43% of all deaths in the U.S., it is very important to keep the blood pressure in the normal range. Over 60 million Americans have high blood pressure. Again, dietary factors appear to be the primary reason. Besides attaining ideal body weight, perhaps the most important dietary recommendation is to increase the consumption of plant foods in the diet. A primarily vegetarian diet typically contains more potassium, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and less saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, all of which have a favorable influence on blood pressure. Increasing the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower blood pressure. Over 60 double- blind studies have demonstrated that either fish oil supplements or flaxseed oil are very effective in lowering blood pressure. Fish oils have typically produced a more pronounced effect than flax oil; this is due to the fact that the dosage of fish oil in the studies done was quite high (e.g. exceeding 30 fish oil capsules daily). This means a daily dose of 10 to 30 capsules and an average monthly cost of $40 to $100. The dosage and expense of 30 fish oil capsules daily is impractical for the average consumer. At a similar dosage, flaxseed oil would cost between $6 and $18 per month. Flaxseed oil is the better choice for lowering blood pressure, especially when cost effectiveness is considered. Since it has been shown that commercially available fish oils contain very high levels of lipid peroxides and greatly stress antioxidant defense mechanisms, at this time it makes the most sense to rely on cold water fish and flaxseed oil for the Omega-3 oils rather than fish oil capsules. Along with reducing the intake of saturated fat, one tablespoon per day of flaxseed oil should drop both the systolic and diastolic readings by up to 9 mm Hg. One study found that for every absolute 1% increase in body alpha-linolenic acid content, there was a decrease of 5 mm Hg in the systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure. Summary The beneficial effects of Omega-3 oils in protecting as well as treating cardiovascular disease are quite obvious. Omega-3 oils impact numerous factors linked to heart attacks and strokes. They lower LDL-cholesterol levels and triglycerides, inhibit excessive platelet aggregation, lower fibrinogen levels, and lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. Flaxseed oil offers the most cost effective and beneficial method for increasing the intake of Omega-3 oils in the diet…
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