How to Improve Your Metabolic Health with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Why Your Metabolic Health Matters
Does your waistline seem to have a mind of its own lately? Have you recently learned that your once normal blood pressure is suddenly creeping up, your blood sugar is on the rise, or your triglycerides are out of whack? If you answered yes – these could all be signs that you are in poor metabolic health and could be on the road to developing Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a cluster of risk factors that increase with age and DOUBLE your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke.
While you might think you are immune to metabolic health issues, a 2018 study has found that only 12% of American adults are metabolically healthy – that breaks down to one in eight!
Good metabolic health is defined as the ability to attain and sustain ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without the use of medications.
Metabolic Syndrome: The Breakdown
Metabolic Syndrome is diagnosed when three of the five following criteria are met:
- High Blood Sugar
- A Surplus of Fat Around Your Waist
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Increased / High Levels of Triglycerides
- Decreased / Low Levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (“Good Cholesterol”)
Reversing the Course of Metabolic Syndrome with Omega-3's
The root cause of the metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance, which occurs when cells in your muscles, body fat, and liver ignore signaling from insulin, which usually instructs them to grab glucose out of the bloodstream to use as energy. This results in excess blood sugar (glucose) levels.
To reverse metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance must be tackled. This is done by normalizing each risk factor one at a time. Losing weight, increasing exercise, cutting carbohydrates, and taking a quality omega-3 fatty supplement can all help. These lifestyle alterations, together with omega-3 EPA & DHA, work to help your body regulate its blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol. As this occurs, insulin resistance drops, and so does its consequences.
Omega-3s & Regulation of Blood Sugar
In healthy individuals, insulin production helps keep your blood sugar within a healthy range. However, when there's insulin resistance, the glucose from your blood fails to enter the body cells, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Well, omega-3s can make your body cells more sensitive to insulin, which can lead to more stabilized blood sugar levels. One way they do this is by driving your fat cells to release a hormone called adiponectin into your blood, which increases insulin sensitivity.
Omega-3s Can Help Reduce Belly Fat
Fat deposits found around the waist, are both a risk factor for and a symptom of metabolic syndrome, and they also contribute directly to insulin resistance. The good news is that omega-3s can help you lose this type of stubborn fat by revving up your metabolism and curbing your appetite.
Reduce Your Blood Pressure with Omega-3 EPA & DHA
While variability in your blood pressure throughout the day is normal, if your blood pressure stays elevated for an extended amount of time, this is referred to as hypertension. Hypertension can cause damage to your heart and lead to other related health problems. A recent meta-analysis of 70 clinical trials, concluded that overall those consuming omega-3 EPA & DHA show reductions in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to those taking a placebo.
Omega-3s Can Lower Your Triglycerides & Increase Good Cholesterol
Triglycerides and cholesterol are both types of fats found circulating in your bloodstream. Your body burns triglycerides for fuel in between meals, while cholesterol is necessary for proper cellular functioning in your body. These fats in and of themselves are not "bad", but when they are present in excessive amounts, the hardening of the arteries or narrowing of blood vessels can occur. In turn, your risk of heart attacks and stroke increases.
Luckily, there are several ways to keep these fats in check. In the case of triglycerides, do your best to avoid overeating carbohydrates. To keep 'bad' cholesterol at bay, take steps to reduce your total cholesterol by reducing or eliminating foods that contain either saturated or trans fats. Next, you'll want to take a supplement rich in omega-3 EPA & DHA, like AstaMatrix®.
Evidence from multiple studies suggests that omega-3 EPA & DHA play roles in lowering triglycerides and raising HDL ("Good") cholesterol in both healthy individuals, as well as those diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides.
While it is important to note that the direct impact of omega-3 EPA & DHA on LDL (aka "Bad") cholesterol is negligible, their ability to increase HDL indirectly impacts LDL. You see, HDL acts as a scavenger carrying the LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. It is here that LDL is broken down and excreted from the body. Basically, 'good' cholesterol can protect you against the cardiovascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome by helping your body rid itself of excess HDL.
Conclusion - An Ounce of Prevention
As you can see, omega-3 EPA & DHA can help keep your metabolic health in good standing, and prevent you from developing metabolic syndrome. To ensure you are getting all the omega-3s you need, you should consider adding a high-quality omega-3 supplement, like AstaMatrix® to your daily diet and exercise regimen!