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Cardiovascular Health

Heart disease and related complications are the UK’s biggest killer. This may be attributable to a range of factors, although the main contributors to poor heart health include smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, stress, obesity and diabetes. The benefits of oily fish for cardiovascular health were first revealed when scientists discovered that the Inuit population of Greenland suffered far less from coronary heart disease than their European counterparts despite their high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. Realising that their diet was high in polyunsaturated omega-3 fats, researchers looked further to see if this relationship was mere coincidence, and found that these omega-3s did indeed have a protective effect on cardiovascular health.[i] Since then scientists have further researched the role of omega-3 fatty acids in cardiovascular health and consistently found that higher intake of omega-3 fats protects against heart disease in the following ways:

- Lowering blood triglycerides (fatty deposits in the blood) making blood more fluid and less prone to clotting. The effects of omega-3 on triglyceride levels are dose-respondent, with effective results seen when doses range from 3-5 g daily.[ii] In order to consume safely such high levels of omega-3 it is necessary to supplement the diet with a purified fish oil supplement.

- Lowering concentrations of LDL (low-density lipoprotein or ‘bad’) cholesterol. [iii] When LDL cholesterol builds up in the arteries it forms a stiff plaque, which can result in clogging and in the long term, atherosclerosis. This then raises the risk of clotting in the narrowed arteries, which can instigate heart attacks. Conversely, high density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) is thought to lower the risk of heart attack by removing LDL from the arteries and carrying it to the liver where it is excreted from the body.

- Lowering blood pressure.

- Reducing atrial fibrillation. This condition affects the rhythmic pumping of blood in the lower ventricles of the heart so that the chambers ‘quiver’, reducing the effectiveness of the functioning of the heart as a pump. Researchers at Harvard have found that consumption of tuna and other baked or broiled fish (providing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids) was associated with lower incidence of atrial fibrillation.[iv]

- Reducing the risk of congestive heart failure. Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, one study found that long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake reduced the risk of congestive heart failure by up to 37%.[v] Fish consumption had a similarly positive effect on the incidence of heart failure – intake of 1 or 2 times per week resulted in 20% lower risk compared to intake just once a month, and up to 32% reduced risk when consumed 5 times per week.

For more serious conditions we recommend between four and eight omega capsules daily, which provide 560 mg ultra-pure EPA and 200 mg organic virgin evening primrose oil.

Please consult your doctor if you are taking any blood-thinning medication. EPA is not compatible with medications such as warfarin or heparin injections.

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