Fish oil is the oil extracted from oily fishes. It can be taken by consuming the actual fish or through food supplements. Some of these oily fishes are tuna, mackerel, salmon, sturgeon, anchovy, trout, herring, and sardines. And these are especially rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements are usually sold as soft gel capsules. The fish oil supplements may sometimes be combined with some vitamin E to prevent it from spoiling. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and/or D, as well as iron and calcium may be added into the soft gels.
Fish oil is a widely known food supplement. And it is no wonder that a lot of people take this supplement. It’s is because of the countless health benefits that fish oil claims. And one of these benefits is its effects on cholesterol. So, what is the effect of fish oil on your cholesterol levels?
Effects of fish oil on cholesterol levels
Fish oil is taken by some people to lower their triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are fats related to cholesterol. And so lowering these fat levels also lowers your cholesterol levels. And thus, help in reducing the risks of and even preventing cardiovascular diseases. This lowers the risks of having heart attacks and stroke.
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3, an essential unsaturated fatty acid. There are three most nutritionally important Omega-3 fatty acids. These are alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). And fish oil contains both EPA and DHA. This is what makes fish oil different from the other commonly used cholesterol-lowering drugs, which are called statins. Unlike statins, the Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil selectively lower only the low density lipoprotein (LDL), or the “bad cholesterol”.
The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil reduce the risks of stroke and cardiac arrest by doing the 4 things. First is they lower blood triglyceride levels, or the fat levels in the blood. Second, they raise the levels of the “good” cholesterol, the high density lipoproteins (HDL). Third, the Omega-3s lower the levels of all non-HDL cholesterol and that includes the aforementioned LDL. Fourth is that they conditionally reduce the risk of arrhythmias. And these are the reasons why fish oil is considered a better treatment and preventive tool compared to statins by some people.
However, keep in mind that fish oil must not be taken excessively. If taken in excess, it can increase the risks instead of minimizing them. It can also slightly raise the levels of LDL cholesterol in people with high levels of triglycerides in the blood. So, for fish oil to work effectively, it must be taken at the right amount.