ZocdocAnswersDoes fish oil help with cholesterol?

Question

Does fish oil help with cholesterol?

My doc said that my triglycerides/cholesterol are high. Said to start taking fish oil. Will this really help? What can go wrong with my body if my triglycerides are high?

Answer

Fish oil contains an active ingredient called omega 3 fatty acid. This is the key substance that is responsible for its health benefits. Several studies have shown that taking omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) at doses of greater than three grams can reduce elevated triglyceride levels by up to 50%. Omega 3 fatty acids in higher doses inhibit the synthesis of triglycerides. So if your triglycerides are indeed elevated, you may certainly benefit from fish oil (omega 3 fatty acid) supplementation. Why do triglycerides matter? Well multiple studies have linked high triglyceride levels to development of cardiovascular disease, meaning that people with high triglycerides are at higher risk for things such as heart attack than with people with normal levels of triglycerides. This is further supported by the observation that people with high fish oil content in their diet had less cardiovascular events than people who had a low intake of fish oil. You should discuss the appropriate dosage of fish oil to take with your physician. Things such as smoking cessation and aerobic exercise can also reduce risks of cardiac events. Speak to your doctor regarding your lipid profile and risk factors for heart disease and follow up his or her recommendations to minimize risk factors.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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