Omega-3 fatty acids offer many potential health benefits, which may extend as far as supporting healthy circulation. Triglyceride build-up in the blood is a common condition with a high-fat diet and can lead to a range of consequences. To understand just how beneficial these healthy fats can be, it is important to understand what triglycerides are, their risks, and how they are influenced by omega-3s.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3s are a form of polyunsaturated fatty acids that occur naturally in the body. These fatty acids make up a crucial part of cell membranes in the body, helping to both form cells and promote positive interactions between them.
By influencing your cells, these fatty acids have several benefits on the body, from promoting heart health to supporting healthy joints. There are three main forms of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a short-chain omega-3 precursor
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Although these essential fatty acids play several important roles in the body, the body cannot make these nutrients on its own. Therefore, you must consume them through food. ALA is the easiest form of omega-3 to obtain, as it is common in a standard diet. On the other hand, DHA and EPA are much less abundant in everyday foods. Consuming both regularly is a great way to help support your overall health.
What Are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are lipids, or a type of fat, found in your blood. These lipids are natural, as your body creates triglycerides from the foods you consume. Your body needs triglycerides to support your health and produce energy — but too many of them can start to cause negative health outcomes.
Triglycerides are carried by the plasma in your blood with other substances. Plasma triglycerides often bond with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. When triglycerides and LDL cholesterol build up as plaque along the walls of your arteries, it can cause potential blockages.
Because of this, high triglyceride levels can lead to several risk factors for poor cardiovascular outcomes. High concentrations of blood triglycerides can lead to:
- A higher risk of cardiovascular events
- Issues with cholesterol levels
- Issues with blood pressure
How Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect Triglycerides?
Maintaining a consistent intake of omega-3 fatty acids is thought to support overall cardiovascular health, and these benefits may extend to supporting triglyceride levels that are already within a healthy range.
According to research, omega-3s may play a role in supporting triglyceride levels that are already within a healthy range. That said though, omega-3 supplements should not be used to self-treat any health conditions, and you should always consult your doctor for advice regarding the past treatment plan for your individual situation.
Not only is omega-3 helpful for supporting healthy triglyceride levels, but it may also potentially support healthy cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids have the potential to support healthy levels of both “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol when these levels are already within a healthy range.
High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood allow triglycerides to bind with them and clog the arteries. Meanwhile, HDL helps to carry these plaque-forming lipids to the liver to be removed from the body. By supporting cholesterol levels that are already within a normal range, omega-3s may help to support healthy circulation as a whole.
What Are the Most Common Sources of Omega-3s?
Regardless of your triglyceride levels, it is beneficial to include omega-3s in your diet regularly. The most beneficial types of omega-3s are DHA and EPA, as they play the largest roles in the body and have the most significant influence on your health. These two forms are especially important when it comes to supporting healthy triglyceride levels within a normal range and maintaining overall cardiovascular health.
Despite their importance, EPA and DHA are the most difficult omega-3s to obtain as they are not incredibly common in a standard diet. To get these two essential fatty acids, you can turn to any of the following sources.
Oily, fatty fish are the most popular source of DHA and EPA fatty acids. The best sources of these nutrients include fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Many health experts recommend consuming fish twice a week to obtain the necessary amounts of DHA and EPA.
However, this recommendation is not realistic for everyone, as some people have seafood allergies, follow plant-based diets, or simply prefer to avoid fish.
Fish Oil Supplements
For a simpler approach than cooking fish multiple times a week, many people prefer to take fish oil supplements. These dietary supplements are either found in oil form or oil-filled softgels.
Although more convenient than eating fish, fish oil has the same drawbacks, limiting people from taking it. Fish oil often has additional uncomfortable side effects like indigestion and unpleasant fishy breath.
Although fish oil provides many benefits with its high omega-3 content, like increasing HDL cholesterol, there may be additional downsides. Studies have shown that fish oil may also increase the presence of LDL cholesterol in the blood, which is not ideal for reducing the risks of triglyceride buildup in the arteries.
Krill Oil Supplements
Krill oil supplements are similar to fish oil, except they come from tiny crustaceans in the ocean called krill. Krill oil is not only rich in omega-3 but also provides additional antioxidants compared to fish oil, thanks to the pigments found in krill.
Since krill oil comes from a crustacean, people with shellfish or seafood allergies must stay away from this supplement as well. Krill oil also provides the same potential drawbacks as fish oil, including its potential side effects.
A lesser-known option for obtaining DHA and EPA, algae is also one of the most effective forms of the two nutrients, especially when compared to fish and krill oil. The omega-3 fats found in algae are absorbed by the body at a rate 1.7x higher than those found in the other two sources. This higher absorption rate means that your body can use more of these nutrients and better use them.
For an easy way to obtain omega-3-rich algae, iwi life provides completely plant-based algae supplements. On top of offering the many potential benefits of omega-3s,iwi life algae-based omega-3 supplements have the potential to support overall healthy levels of cholesterol. As a result, these supplements are an excellent choice for supporting your cardiovascular health and helping you maintain healthy circulation.
What Are Other Ways To Support Healthy Triglycerides?
If you are experiencing high triglyceride levels, then there are several steps you can take or that your doctor may recommend, including both lifestyle changes and medication.
Icosapent ethyl is one type of medication that helps regulate the number of lipids in the blood and is often prescribed to people who have very high triglycerides in their blood. Another option your doctor may recommend is statin therapy. Statins are a type of medication that brings your cholesterol to normal levels by decreasing LDL cholesterol. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend either low or high-dose statins.
Before you reach a stage where medication is necessary, there are many ways that you can minimize your risk for high triglycerides. To reduce your risk, you may be advised to:
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Minimize saturated fats in your diet and inflammatory foods
Taking a preventative approach is also the best way to minimize your cardiovascular risk in general. By taking the above steps, you can not only reduce your chances of developing high triglyceride levels but also reduce your risk for other conditions.
If it is too late for prevention, some people may benefit from altering their diet, while others may need to turn to medication to maintain normal triglyceride levels. Ultimately, only your healthcare provider can provide a firm answer on the best solution if you are experiencing high triglycerides. If you are interested in including more omega-3s in your diet, talk to your doctor about the best way forward.
Support Your Cardiovascular Health With Omega-3s
Overall, you should strive to avoid the risks of high triglyceride levels by making healthy lifestyle choices and consulting with your doctor. If you want to support your overall cardiovascular health, then turning to a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid supplement may be an excellent way to start.
Fortunately, iwi life omega-3 supplements provide an easy way to get your daily recommended amounts of DHA and EPA fatty acids with just one simple softgel. From supporting healthy cholesterol levels to promoting healthy cognitive function, there are several ways that algae supplements can benefit your health. Explore the complete iwi life family of products to see all the potential benefits for yourself.
Statins: Types, Uses and Side Effects | Cleveland Clinic
Omega-3 Fatty Acids & the Important Role They Play | Mayo Clinic