Whether you recently had a conversation with your doctor or want to learn more about being proactive with your health, you may be wondering how to promote healthier cholesterol levels in your body. Either way, it is always an excellent idea to consider how you can best support your cardiovascular health.

You may have learned about the benefits of fish oil, as it is often mentioned in conversations about improving cholesterol, but just how helpful is it? iwi life is here to provide you with more information about fish oil and the details you need to know about its effect on your cholesterol.

What Is Cholesterol?

Although cholesterol is often known as bad, a bit more nuance is involved. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance in the body that is not inherently bad. This substance is natural and used by the body to build cell membranes and produce important nutrients and hormones.

Cholesterol comes from two sources. The liver primarily produces cholesterol, but you can also consume it through your diet from animal-based foods. Although your liver can produce all necessary cholesterol on its own, consuming foods high in saturated and trans fats can encourage your body to produce more cholesterol. 

The foods you eat have the biggest impact on your cholesterol levels. Although many foods can cause your body to increase its cholesterol production, some will also cause a decrease in cholesterol production.

Too much cholesterol can pose multiple health risks. Cholesterol in the blood can conjoin with other substances, like fats called triglycerides, and cause build-up in the arteries, which can cause the arteries to stiffen as well as decrease the flow of blood. Consequently, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood are often associated with negative health outcomes.

There are two main types of cholesterol in the body — high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL is the bad cholesterol, while HDL is the good kind. LDL is the type of cholesterol that can build up in your arteries, while HDL cholesterol carries excess bad cholesterol back to the liver for disposal to prevent build-up.

How Can I Support Healthy Cholesterol Levels?

 

healthy food

In conjunction with other healthy habits, the right supplement can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and feel more confident about your cardiovascular health. In order to promote your overall health and well-being, your doctor may suggest several positive lifestyle habits for the best results.

Cholesterol levels are largely impacted by your diet, but other factors can have an impact as well, both positive and negative. In order to promote healthy cholesterol, you may want to consider doing a few things in your day-to-day, such as:

  • Reducing your intake of saturated and trans fats
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding smoking cigarettes
  • Refraining from drinking alcohol
  • Including more foods and/or supplements which help maintain healthy cholesterol levels

Adding an effective supplement to your daily routine can help provide you additional support for maintaining your cholesterol levels already within the healthy range, but it is important to pick the right one. When deciding on the best possible supplement for your cholesterol, it helps to know what specific ways a supplement impacts your cholesterol levels.

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the most popular dietary sources of these nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, so you need to obtain them through diet or supplementation.

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids known for their ability to support heart health, provide energy, and serve as the foundation for the membranes of many cells in the body. The two most important omega-3s are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA play an important role in supporting your heart health and regulating certain functions, like cholesterol metabolism and blood pressure balance. DHA and EPA are found most often in fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and trout, as well as shellfish.

Fish oil contains both DHA and EPA omega-3s. Fish oil can be taken in liquid form or as a capsule. This dietary source of omega-3s is often taken because of its reputation for having positive effects on cholesterol, so how does it impact your body’s cholesterol?

How Does Fish Oil Affect Cholesterol?

Is Fish Oil Good for Cholesterol & How Does It Work?

Although there is a significant amount of evidence that omega-3s may help maintain normal blood triglyceride levels, the effects of fish oil are a bit more questionable. There is no consistent evidence regarding the effects of fish oil on cholesterol levels. Some studies have shown that fish oil does not help with LDL cholesterol levels, while other studies have shown that fish oil increases LDL cholesterol levels. 

These results may demonstrate that fish oil is unhelpful for people with already high cholesterol.

Despite the unclear effects of fish oil on LDL levels, it may have some positive effects on your cholesterol. Fish oil is thought to raise HDL cholesterol levels in the blood, which can help support better cardiovascular health. However, it is hard to say whether this benefit outweighs the potential downsides of the supplement.

Altogether, the effects of fish oil on cholesterol levels are questionable, and it is better to rely on more effective options for supporting your cholesterol.

Is There an Alternative to Fish Oil Supplements?

Is Fish Oil Good for Cholesterol & How Does It Work?

Since the jury is still out on the effectiveness of fish oil supplements for supporting your cholesterol levels, you may want to choose a more helpful alternative with better health benefits — like fatty acid supplementation. Fortunately, there is some evidence that different sources of omega-3 fatty acids may be useful for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels already within the healthy range.

For a natural way to nourish your heart, consider turning toward algae, a plant-based source of essential fatty acids. After all, algae is the original source of omega-3 fats--fish and krill get their omega-3 content by eating algae!

In addition to the possible benefits that this supplement may have to helping your body maintain your cholesterol levels which are already within the normal range, an algae-based product can also help you avoid the unpleasant side effects of taking fish oil, like a fishy aftertaste and unpleasant fishy breath. Algae-based supplements are much less likely to cause burps, so they're easier to forget once you take them!

Provide Your Cardiovascular System With Reliable Nourishment

Although fish oil has some potentially beneficial effects by increasing your “good” HDL cholesterol levels, it may also raise your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. To turn to the original source of omega-3, put fish oil to the side and try algae.

With iwi life’s Heart supplement and other omega-3 supplements, you will know that you're nourishing your body and protecting the planet all at the same time! Try it for yourself and see the benefits that this plant-based source of omega-3s can offer.

 

Sources:

HDL (Good), LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides | American Heart Association

Fish oil | Mayo Clinic

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