Omega-3 supplementation may be helpful in maintaining cardiovascular health in premenopausal women

 
 
 

Triglycerides are the main form of fat storage by the body: the unused calories are stored in fat cells, and hormones release them to produce energy; but if more calories are consumed than burned, we can have “high triglycerides”. Having a high level of triglycerides in the blood is a common problem, but we cannot neglect it, because increases the cardiovascular risk; “hypertriglyceridemia” (high triglycerides) may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls. This leads to arterial hypertension, a major cardiovascular risk factor in Western industrialized countries.

Historically, the cardiovascular risk in premenopausal women has been lower than that of men (although this reverts after the onset of the menopause), but according recent data this is changing in women under the age of 55. It is very important to understand the mechanisms that contribute to worsening cardiovascular risk factors in young women, in order to reduce them. Traditional cardiovascular risk factors have a differential impact in men and women; it is known, for instance, that the contribution of triglycerides levels to cardiovascular risk in premenopausal women is greater than in men.

The best way to lower triglycerides is to follow a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercising regularly and a healthy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) supplementation has been shown to improve blood lipid (fat) levels in men and postmenopausal women. However, until recently there was no information about their effects on premenopausal women, although research on the triglycerides-lowering effects of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA an DHA) is especially important in women, given that blood triglycerides are a stronger cardiovascular risk factor in women than men. The results of a recent study show that supplementation with 1 g/day of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) could reduce blood triglycerides by approximately 20% in premenopausal women, and this benefit is of a similar degree to that observed in men and postmenopausal women.

Hence, supplementation with 1 g/day of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) may be helpful in maintaining cardiovascular health in premenopausal women, given the greater contribution of triglycerides levels to their cardiovascular risk.

 

References:

Sparkes C, Gibson R, Sinclair A, Else PL, Meyer BJ. Effect of low dose docosahexaenoic acid-rich fish oil on plasma lipids and lipoproteins in pre-menopausal women: A dose-response randomized placebo-controlled trial. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 8;10(10). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212906/

Garcia M, Mulvagh SL, Merz CN, Buring JE, Manson JE. Cardiovascular Disease in Women: Clinical Perspectives. Circ Res. 2016; 118(8): 1273-93. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4834856/

Shearer GC, Savinova OV, Harris WS. Fish oil – how does it reduce plasma triglycerides? Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012; 1821(5): 843-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3563284/

Triglycerides: Why do they matter? [Internet]. Mayo Clinic (fecha última actualización: 13 de septiembre de 2018]. Disponible en: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186