by Dr Danica Bonello Spiteri MD MRCP M.Sc.(SRM), M.Sc.(Sp.Biomech)
An active 45 year old male questioned me about the benefits of Omega 3, as he was concerned that there was a strong family history of heart disease in his family. He already undertake regular physical activity, but requested additional options to protect against heart disease. He had heard of omega 3 before, but he had no clue of its benefits, hence was interested in learning more about it.
In the 1970s there was notable interest in the fact that there were low rates of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events amongst the Greenland Inuit and other fish eating populations, such as Japan.
Omega 3 offers protection from heart disease as it reduces the risk of cardiac arrhythmias (problems with the wiring of the heart), reduced the harmful cholesterol (triglyceride) levels, reduces blood pressure readings as well as reduces the ‘stickiness’ of platelets in the blood, which causes blood clots resulting in heart attacks and strokes.
Omega 3 can be found in cold water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines, whilst fish with a lower fat content, such as bass, tilapia, cod and shellfish contain lower levels.