As you get older, your heart health and blood vessel health play an increasingly important part in your overall health and wellbeing.
If you’re serious about maintaining your cardiovascular health well into a ripe old age, then you should also get serious about your intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which work in numerous ways to support heart and blood vessel function.
Where can I find Omega-3s?
Fish are the predominant source of omega-3 essential fatty acids in the Australian diet, but research suggests that the vast majority of us don’t eat enough to provide the levels of omega-3s recommended for the protection of the cardiovascular system. That means if you’re not eating fish at least twice a week, it may be beneficial for you to take a fish oil supplement.
Read on to learn why omega-3s are so vitally important for your heart and blood vessel health, and what you need to know about choosing the right fish oil supplement.
1. Omega-3s support cholesterol and triglyceride health
By now you’re probably aware of the importance of maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. If you’re in good health omega-3s may play a valuable role in helping to keep your blood lipids and triglycerides in the normal range and help you maintain a healthy balance of the various cholesterol fractions in your bloodstream, including healthy levels of HDL-cholesterol (sometimes referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol).
2. Omega-3s for healthy blood vessels
Your arteries, veins and capillaries do the important job of transporting blood to every corner of your body. In order to do so effectively, they need to be in good shape. The elasticity and flexibility of your blood vessels is of critical importance here, enabling them to expand and contract to propel blood around the body. Taking omega-3s may help to maintain the integrity and flexibility of your blood vessels and support healthy blood flow and circulation.
3. Omega-3s support peripheral circulation
Blood circulation to the peripheral parts of your body such as your hands and feet becomes particularly vulnerable to compromise as you get older, and it’s estimated that up to 3 in 10 people in their 70s and beyond experience significant dysfunction of their peripheral blood vessels. Poor health of the peripheral circulation is a risk factor for heart and blood vessel problems, so it makes good sense to take omega-3 supplements, which may help support the peripheral blood vessels and maintain circulation to the area.
4. Omega-3s for healthy blood pressure
Your blood pressure is a measure of the pressure in your arteries as the heart contracts and relaxes. When elevated, can indicate an increased risk of some forms of heart and blood vessel problems. Taking omega-3 essential fatty acids may help healthy people to maintain normal blood pressure, which is one of the cornerstones of your heart health management plan.
5. Blood sugar balance
Finally, your blood sugar balance also plays a role in your cardiovascular and overall metabolic health, and taking omega-3s may help healthy people to support healthy blood sugar metabolism.
What’s important in a fish oil supplement?
Your omega-3 supplement can only have these benefits for your heart health if you actually take it! However, many people avoid taking omega-3s because they’re concerned about the fishy taste and unpleasant consequences such as burping, reflux and bad breath. To avoid these issues, look for a fish oil supplement that’s made to exceptionally high purity standards, has been tested for contaminants such as mercury, dioxins and PCBs, and incorporates an antioxidant such as astaxanthin into the formula.
For additional odour minimisation, choose a formula that is enteric-coated (meaning that the capsule breaks down in the small intestine, where the omega-3s are absorbed, rather than in the stomach) and that includes natural flavouring to mask any residual odours.
BONUS TIP: Take CoQ10 for extra heart health support
If you’re taking omega-3s to support your heart health, consider taking a Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplement too, aiming for a dosage of 150 milligrams per day, combined with Piperine Phospholipid Complex, which may enhance CoQ10 absorption. In people who are generally healthy, taking CoQ10 may help to reduce the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and support general cardiovascular health.
This nutrient is considered especially important as we get older because our own production of Coenzyme Q10 declines with age. In addition to supporting heart health, it’s a key antioxidant that also contributes to the production of energy in the body’s cells, and taking supplements may help to maintain vitality and support healthy ageing.
Mr Vitamins recommends
- Fusion OceanPure Fish Oil: Highly concentrated, odourless, low-reflux formula with astaxanthin
- Fusion Bioenhanced CoQ10 150mg: Antioxidant support for cardiovascular health with Piperine Phospholipid Complex
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner.
- Meyer BJ. Nutrients 2016;8:111
- Arain FA, Cooper LT. Mayo Clin Proc 2008;83(8):944-50
- Shammas NW. Vasc Health Risk Management 2007;3(2):229-34