Omega-3s From Fish Better Than Pills: Study

Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 12:52 PM

By Nick Tate

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Food beats pills when it comes to fish oil. That’s the key conclusion of a new study that found omega-3 fatty acids from fish are more effective at lowering lower blood pressure than supplements containing the beneficial oils.
 
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine noted past studies have determined omega-3s found in oily fish have a variety of health-promoting effects, potentially protecting the immune, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.

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But the new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is among the first to show precisely how the health effects of one such fatty acid — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — works to boost health by lowering blood pressure and that it is more effective when derived from food sources.

Toshinori Hoshi, a professor of physiology at the university, said the researchers’ studies of mice indicated DHA helps lower blood pressure by regulating smooth muscle cells in blood vessels as well as sodium, calcium, and potassium.
 
But when they compared DHA from fish sources to DHA ethyl ester, found in most fish oil pills, they found the dietary supplement was not as effective in lowering hypertension.
 
They said findings have practical implications for the use of omega-3 fatty acids in lowering blood pressure and underscore the importance of obtaining them from natural

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