Omega-3 fatty acids have a long history of being heart-healthy, but exactly why and how has been less clear.
In a recent study at the Fatty Acid Research Institute, researchers found new evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can benefit heart health.
They found the nutrient can help the heart rate recover to normal fast after exercise.
The study is published in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. One author s Dr. William Harris.
In the study, the team used data from 13,912 healthy men and women over a 10-year period.
These examinations routinely included both treadmill exercise testing and measurement of the Omega-3 Index (i.e., red blood cell EPA+DHA levels from OmegaQuant Analytics).
One component of the exercise test is called ‘heart rate recovery’ and it refers to how quickly the heartbeat slows down after maximal exercise. The faster it drops, the healthier the heart.
The team found a strong link between each person’s heart rate recovery and their Omega-3 Index.
The higher the Omega-3 Index, the faster the heart rate dropped down. The effect was more marked in women than men but statistically significant in both.
Previous studies have shown that a slow heart rate recovery is linked to increased risk for sudden cardiac death, which fits with higher EPA and DHA levels being linked with reduced risk for sudden cardiac death.
These findings support the known benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on resting heart rate and provide new clues to how these important fatty acids can preserve cardiac health.
These benefits join other effects of omega-3 fatty acids, including the reduction in blood pressure, chronic inflammation and platelet aggregation, to at least partially explain why omega-3s are good for the heart.
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