Omega-3 supplements can prevent arterial stiffness

Omega-3 supplements can prevent arterial stiffness

It can be hard to keep track of the numerous risk factors for cardiac problems, and arterial stiffness is proven to be one of them. Many causes of heart disease are difficult to treat, but research showed that a daily omega-3 supplement can help to prevent this particular risk factor associated with aging.

Arterial stiffness results in hypertension
Arterial stiffness is exactly what it sounds like: The aorta tends to harden over time, becoming less flexible. According to a study conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, this disease increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

The researchers used a computer-modeled "virtual human" to examine the effect that stiff arteries have on the body. The results, published in PLOS​ One, showed that this condition prevents receptors from noticing that blood pressure is too high. The body then doesn't regulate blood flow, resulting in hypertension. With this new finding, scientists concluded that high blood pressure can be caused solely by stiff arteries.

"Our results suggest that arterial stiffness represents a major therapeutic target. This is contrary to existing models, which typically explain high blood pressure in terms of defective kidney function," said Klas Pettersen, Ph.D., first author of the report.

Omega-3s shown to prevent stiff arteries
However, multiple studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce arterial stiffness in older adults. Research published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics showed that fatty acid supplements can prevent vascular changes associated with the onset of menopause. The researchers found that arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women can be prevented or reduced with an omega-3 supplement.

A review of 38 studies on the topic was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The conclusion was that only omega-3s and soy isoflavones have proven effects on stiff arteries. Evidence for other vitamins and herbs was inconclusive, but fish oil supplements were consistently linked to reduced arterial stiffness. 

If you're concerned about keeping your body in prime condition in order to prevent chronic illness, you could benefit from an omega-3 supplement. Not only are these nutrients linked to reduced arterial stiffness, they have also been shown to promote lower cholesterol and prevent cognitive decline. A fish oil supplement such as Omax3 can fill in the gaps of polyunsaturated fats in an omega-3 deficient diet.