Scientists from the Fatty Acid Research Institute 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 research is published in Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids and was conducted by Dr. William Harris et al.
Omega-3 fatty acids have a long history of being heart-healthy, but exactly why and how has been less clear.
They are known to lower serum triglyceride levels, but the effect is relatively small and it’s not clear how much of a risk factor high triglyceride levels are in the first place.
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 new 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.
If you care about supplements, please read studies that vitamin D can be cheap treatments for COVID-19, and vitamin K may help cut heart disease risk by a third.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about food that could lead to better cognition in older people, and results showing this common food oil in the U.S. can change genes in the brain.
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