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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have Potent Effects On Risk For Heart Disease

When you eat a meal, in particular one with fat, the fat in your blood (triglycerides) are elevated. The extent triglycerides are elevated after a meal is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Thus, strategies to reduce this elevation in triglycerides are beneficial on heart health. Two strategies that can reduce triglycerides are exercise and omega-3 fats. This study examined the individual and combined effects of exercise and omega-3 supplementation. Subjects completed 4 trials and their triglyceride response to a fat-rich meal was assessed: control (no exercise and no omega 3), exercise (1 h of exercise 12 hours before the meal), omega-3 fat supplementation (4 g/day for 3 wk), and a combination of exercise and omega 3. Exercise alone reduced the total triglyceride response by 40%, omega 3 fat alone by 42%, and the combined effects of exercise and omega 3 fat reduced triglycerides by a remarkable 58%. The study shows an additive effect of exercise and omega 3 fat on reducing a strong risk factor for chronic disease. The dose of omega 3 was relatively low and provides a relatively simple strategy to protect against heart disease.

Smith BK, Sun GY, Donahue OM, Thomas TR. Exercise plus n-3 fatty acids: additive effect on postprandial lipemia. Metabolism. 2004 Oct;53(10):1365-71.