Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that's thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body, a contributing factor to coronary artery disease. However, recent studies have not shown them to be beneficial. More research is needed.
- Fish and fish oil are the most effective sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish — such as salmon, herring and, to a lesser extent, tuna — contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and, therefore, the most benefit. Fish oil supplements may offer benefit, but the evidence is strongest for eating fish.
- Flax and flaxseed oil also contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, though studies have not found these sources to be as effective as fish. The shell on raw flaxseeds also contains soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol.
- Other dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil. These foods contain smaller amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than do fish and fish oil, and evidence for their benefit to heart health isn't as strong.
Other supplements may help reduce your blood pressure or cholesterol level, two contributing factors to coronary artery disease. These include:
April 12, 2014
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Beta-sitosterol (found in oral supplements and some margarines, such as Promise Activ)
- Blond psyllium
- Coenzyme Q10
- Oat bran (found in oatmeal and whole oats)
- Sitostanol (found in oral supplements and some margarines, such as Benecol)
- Coronary heart disease. National Lung, Heart, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Cad/CAD_WhatIs.html. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Smith SC, et al. American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation Secondary prevention and risk reduction therapy for patients with coronary and other Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease: 2011 update. Circulation. 2011;124:2458.
- The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Bethesda, Md.: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/hypertension/jnc7full.htm. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Executive summary of the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/index.htm. Accessed Oct. 6, 2013.
- Natural product effectiveness checker: High cholesterol. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Natural product effectiveness checker: Hypertension. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
- Omega-3 supplements: An introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/omega3/introduction.htm. Accessed Oct. 6, 2013.
- Wilson PWF. Overview of possible risk factors for cardiovascular disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 6, 2013.
- Hanson MA, et al. Coronary Artery Disease. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2013;40:1.
- Wilson PWF. Overview of the risk equivalents and established risk factors for cardiovascular disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 6, 2013.
- Weintraub H. Update on marine omega-3 fatty acids: Management of dyslipidemia and current omega-3 treatment options. Atherosclerosis. 2013;230:381.
- Grogan M (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 16, 2013.
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