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How Fish Oil Benefits The Heart

How Fish Oil Benefits The Heart
Omega 3 oils have made it into the medical news headlines many times over the past couple of decades.

Why has this occurred?
This is because omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have some very impressive effects on prevention of heart disease, as well as being linked to lower incidences of depression and dementia in both population studies, and in the case of depression, randomised controlled trials as well.
And the product is natural as well.
So let's have a look at what these benefits of omega 3\'s are. In this article, we\'ll have a look at the health effects of omega 3s on the heart.

Benefits of omega 3 fatty acids in survivors of heart attacks (myocardial infarction)
The DART study (which stands for the Diet And Reinfarction Trial) showed that survivors of heart attacks who consumed oily fish, which is equal to about 500 to 800 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per day, had a reduction in total death rate of 29%. The particular survivors who chose to take fish oil capsules containing 450 mg of omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) per day, had a reduction in cardiac related death of 62%, and a reduction in risk of death of 56%.

Then came the GISSI prevention trial, which was a large Italian study of 11,324 heart attack survivors.

This study showed that heart attack survivors who took a capsule of fish oil every day, which is equal to 1 gram of fish oil, which is equivalent to 850mg of omega 3s, had a 30% decrease in cardiac mortality, and 45% decrease in risk of sudden death. And these benefits were apparent within just four months of the trial.

Then the Lyon study came into the picture, looking at 600 heart attack patients.

It was found that those who took the advice of eating a Mediterranean diet, with an emphasis on fruit and vegetables, and in particular an adequate intake of non marine sources of omega 3 oils (alpha-linolenic acid), had a decrease in their risk of heart related death at 5 years by 70%, when compared to those patients who had no such dietary advice.

Now let's have a look at fish oil effects in prevention of heart disease in the first place...

Benefits of omega 3 in preventing heart disease and sudden death in healthy individuals
Firstly, there was a study looking at the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids in healthy male doctors. This study was known as the Physician\'s Health Study.

This study found that those with the highest levels of omega 3 fatty acids in their blood streams, had a risk of sudden death that was only 1/5 of the risk of sudden death found in the group with the lowest omega 3 fatty acid levels. That is, their relative risk was 19%. Those with the second highest levels of omega 3 fatty acids had a relative risk of less than 1/3, with a relative risk of 28%.

Secondly, there was the Chicago Physician\'s Health Study Western Electric Study which studied a group of 1822 men over a period of 30 years.

This study found that those who ate more than 35 g of fish per day had 38% less risk of dying from heart disease, and a 44% reduction in risk of heart attacks, when compared to those who had no fish intake.

These are just sample of the various studies on the health effects of omega 3 fatty acids on cardiac health.

It is very sobering to realise that about 50% of heart attacks have no warning.

The benefits as shown in the studies above, relate to preventing heart attacks in those who have already had one, as well as reducing the risk of myocardial infarction and sudden death in healthy individuals.

The these essential fatty acids have been linked to reductions in risk of dementia and depression, in the treatment of depressed patients, and improvement in IQ of children.

There are even studies on the effect of fish oils on reducing levels of aggression in young adults.

The health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids are certainly very interesting, and very promising.

They vary from heart health, to mental health.

If you have a medical condition, you should always seek the advice of your doctor before taking any new supplements or medications in case you are on medications or have medical conditions that contraindicate the use of natural supplements.

So watch out for more developments in the area of omega 3 fatty acids, including more medical studies on its various benefits.

Want to learn more about omega 3 fatty acids? Marcus Ryan helps you to discover the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil, including a clear understand of the results of medical studies and research on fish oil benefits.

Marcus Ryan
Marcus Ryan helps you to discover the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil, including a clear understand of the results of medical studies on omega 3 oils, which species of fish are high in omega 3 and low in mercury, how safe are fish oil capsules, and the latest news on omega 3 fatty acids. Visit his site at:
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Best vitamin for energy

Best vitamin for energy
We need all vitamins and minerals for good health, well being and energy. However, particular nutrient deficiencies are associated with reduced energy and chronic tiredness. These include iron, magnesium, B12 and folic acid. We will explore each of these nutrients; how they contribute to tiredness; how to test their levels in the body; and symptoms of a deficiency


Iron is an essential mineral needed for the manufacture of haemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen and is needed for energy production. When iron levels are low, red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen to the body’s tissues, causing fatigue. When haemoglobin levels are low, anaemia occurs.

There are two types of iron: haem iron (from animal sources) and non-haem iron (from plant sources). The body absorbs haem iron much more easily than non-haem iron, which is why vegetarians are at greater risk of iron-deficiency anaemia.

Symptoms of deficiency: fatigue (especially on exertion); pale lower eyelids, palms, nails, tongue; brittle nails; headaches; constipation; inflamed tongue.

Testing for deficiency: iron levels are tested easily with blood samples. Serum iron – tests iron levels in the blood. Ferritin levels – test how well iron is stored in the body, the best indicator of the body’s iron levels.

Caution: Excess iron absorption (called haemochromatosis) also causes chronic tiredness so it’s important to check your iron levels before using an iron supplement.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is needed for manufacture of red blood cells (along with folic acid). B12 helps the body’s use of iron and is also required for proper digestion, the absorption of foods, the synthesis of protein and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. No wonder it’s important for good energy levels! It is often observed that taking B12 (especially via injections) reduces fatigue, even when a deficiency isn’t found.

B12 deficiencies are common due to declining B12 levels in food, increased use of antibiotics and digestive problems. This is because B12 is produced in the digestive tract as well as being absorbed from food. Those most at risk of a B12 deficiency are vegetarians and people with digestive disturbances.

Symptoms of deficiency: fatigue, weakness, dizziness, sore tongue, memory problems, confusion, irritability, depression, moodiness, paleness.

Testing for deficiency: B12 levels can be measured with a blood test

Folic Acid 

Folic acid is a B vitamin (also called B9 or folate) needed for the manufacture of red blood cells. Deficiency can lead to a condition called megaloblastic anaemia. Fatigue is associated with both a simple folic acid deficiency as well as megaloblastic anaemia. Because folic acid is easily destroyed during cooking, it is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies.

Symptoms of deficiency: similar to those of B12, including fatigue, digestive disturbances, insomnia, memory problems, weakness, shortness of breath, recurrent miscarriages, mental confusion, paranoid delusions, sore tongue, anaemia.

Testing for deficiency: folic acid levels can be measured with a blood test.

Caution: if folic acid is given to someone who is B12 deficient and B12 isn’t given at the same time, the symptoms of a B12 deficiency (especially neurological symptoms) can be masked. Only take folic acid if a B12 deficiency has been ruled out.


Magnesium is needed for the production of ATP, which is the main energy-producing molecule in the body. Therefore, when magnesium is deficient our cells are less able to produce energy and we can experience chronic tiredness. It has been found that nearly all people with chronic fatigue syndrome are magnesium deficient and for about 80 per cent of people given magnesium their energy improves. In fact, magnesium is the most common nutrient deficiency in all people. Most of us would benefit from supplementation even if magnesium levels are unable to be checked.

Symptoms of deficiency: fatigue, irritability, muscle spasms or cramps, rapid or irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, insomnia.

Testing for deficiency: magnesium is not generally tested by blood test. Hair analysis is the most readily available test. Hair mineral levels are a measure of the minerals bound into the hair shaft over a period of time and correlate most closely with tissue levels. The hair analysis test can be performed through specialist laboratories.

Caution: if magnesium supplements worsen your symptoms (especially cramping, twitching and muscle spasms), calcium is probably the deficiency, not magnesium.

Please note: The information in this article is not intended to take the place of a personal relationship with a qualified health practitioner nor is it intended as medical advice.
Alison Cassar

Alison Cassar is a naturopathic practitioner and nutritionist and runs a busy clinic in Sydney, Australia. Her particular interest is chronic tiredness as its a very common presenting symptom in clinic. Her website and e-book explores the many causes of tiredness as well as solutions and prevention.   View all articles by Alison Cassar
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