Researchers at Southampton University, UK have found that omega-3 fatty acids stop the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries. If left unchecked, plaque can block blood flow to the heart and brain leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Dr. Philip Calder, PhD, led a double-blind study consisting of 162 patients scheduled for surgery to remove high levels of arterial plaque. The patients were divided into three groups that took a daily total of 1.6 grams of omega-3, sunflower oil, or a placebo in six separate capsules. On average, the participants took omega-3 for 42 days immediately prior to surgery.
After surgery, doctors found that there were far fewer inflammatory cells in the plaque of those who had taken omega-3, significantly reducing the risk for arterial rupture, heart attack, and stroke. Dr. Calder acknowledged that patients in the study took a high dose of omega-3 -- 1.6 grams per day -- about 10 times the normal dose. He suggested, however, that taking much lower amounts of omega-3 over longer periods could be equally beneficial.
Omega-3 is already known to increase blood flow, reduce blood clotting, and help prevent arrhythmia, or irregular heart beat. This latest research shows that omega-3 has beneficial effects on arterial plaque.
Increase intake of omega-3 by eating more oily fish and by taking fish oil supplements.