The recent research in the journal “Circulation” has analyzed the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on high blood triglyceride (TG) levels. It has found that omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 FA) can control hypertriglyceridemia. In most cases, about 4g of omega-3 FAs daily can lower the TG levels by 20 – 30%.
High triglyceride levels in the blood can lead to atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, and pancreatitis
Triglycerides are fats present in a person’s blood. And the normal range for TGs is less than 150 mg/dL. High blood TGs are common in people living in the U.S. About 25% of the U.S. adults have borderline high TG levels, which is above 150 mg/dL.
The number of cases in the U.S. has expanded due to an increase in rates of diabetes and obesity. Both of these conditions can progress to high TG levels.
A few studies have found that TG levels above 200 mg/dL in the blood can lead to atherosclerosis. That is the narrowing of the arteries. And it can further increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Besides an increase in the risk of CVDs, very high blood TG levels (more than 500 mg/dL) can also lead to inflammation in the pancreas. This study has assessed the results of 17 randomized clinical trials.
And the results have shown that taking 4g of omega-3 fatty acids per day is efficient in controlling hypertriglyceridemia.
This method is safer when used with medicine to lower cholesterol – statin. There are two omega-3 fatty acid medications. One contains two types of fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While the other contains EPA only.
The AHA advisory suggests that people with high TGs should not try to treat their condition with non-prescribed omega-3 FA fish oil supplements. FDA doesn’t regulate omega-3 FA fish oil supplements. And also, one shouldn’t use them on a long term basis.
Almost 4g of omega-3 fatty acid medications daily can effectively treat hypertriglyceridemia
Recently, the FDA has approved n-3 FA drugs for treating blood TG levels above 500 mg/dL. The efficient dose is 4g of omega-3 fatty acid per day taken along with food.
A healthier lifestyle may also help to lower TG levels. It includes weight loss, daily physical activity, avoiding refined carbs and sugars, limiting alcohol, and taking healthier fats from plants. There is also a need to exclude some conditions before starting the medication.
It may involve poorly managed type 2 diabetes, obesity, or reduced activity of thyroid glands. Fish is one of the good sources of omega-3 FA. And the American Heart Association suggests that one should eat fish, such as salmon and herring, at least 2 times/week.
While assessing the current scientific data, the advisory panel has found these results. In people with TGs levels of 200 – 499 mg/dL, drugs with omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DHA or only EPA) can reduce these levels by 20 – 30%.
The formula containing both EPA and DHA doesn’t increase the bad cholesterol (LDL-C) in these people. But in people with TG levels of ≥500 mg/dL, there is an increase in the levels of LDL-C.
Overall the study has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can control hypertriglyceridemia. The panel has also noted that omega-3 drugs are efficient in treating high TG levels, even though people are using statin or not.
In a recent study known as REDUCE-IT, scientists have found a new result. It shows that in patients with high TG levels, the EPA-only drug has reduced the risk of major CVDs by 25% when used with a statin.