AHA adds fiber & omega-3 to triglyceride management recommendations

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Two to four grams of omega-3 are needed to cut triglyceride levels: AHA
Two to four grams of omega-3 are needed to cut triglyceride levels: AHA

Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-3 fatty acid

Fiber and omega-3s from marine sources should be included in the diet for reducing levels of triglycerides in the blood, according to the American Heart Association’s first ever statement on triglyceride management

With about one-third of Americans suffering from raised levels of triglycerides – well established to raise the risk of developing cardiovascular disease – the AHA has released its first ever statement on triglyceride management.

The statement, published online in the journal Circulation​, notes that “optimization of nutrition-related practices can result in a marked triglyceride-lowering effect that ranges between 20 and 50 percent”, ​with approaches such as cutting carbohydrates for more fiber, and boosting the intake of omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources.

Other dietary approaches with triglyceride-lowering potential include “eliminating industrial-produced trans fatty acids, restricting fructose and SFA, [and] implementing a Mediterranean-style diet”,​ wrote the authors, led by Michael Miller, MD, from the University of Maryland.

Fish, not plants

The AHA statement does not support the potential of non-marine derived omega-3 fatty acids, however, noting that alpha-linolenic acid found in canola, chia, flaxseed, rapeseed, soybeans, and walnuts, “have not demonstrated consistent reductions in triglycerides; this may reflect very low conversion rates of alpha-linolenic acid and its intermediary, stearidonic acid, to the active triglyceride-lowering omega-3 compounds EPA and DHA.

“Therefore, if omega-3 PUFAs are used for triglyceride lowering, they should be exclusively marine-derived EPA and/or DHA,”​ added the statement.

In addition, the authors pointed a joint role of diet and supplements: “Because the amount needed for significant triglyceride lowering (2 to 4 g) is difficult to attain through diet alone on a daily basis, supplementation with capsules may be needed”​.

Significant positive development

The statement was welcomed by Harry Rice, PhD, VP regulatory & scientific affairs for the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), as a “significant positive development given that almost 1/3 of the general U.S. population has borderline-high triglyceride levels.”

Dr Rice told NutraIngredients-USA that the AHA statement means that greater emphasis will be placed on reducing triglyceride levels before they get out of hand.

“While it is commonly accepted that there is an association between elevated triglycerides and CVD, the extent to which triglyceride levels serve as a modifiable risk factor or biomarker for CVD risk has been debated for several decades,” ​said Dr Rice. “While the AHA’s report doesn’t end the debate, it does provide further evidence that triglyceride levels do serve as a modifiable risk factor or biomarker for CVD risk.

“The AHA has long recognized the benefits of EPA & DHA long-chain omega-3s for cardiovascular health, and its new report provides further recognition of their benefit,” ​he added.

Leading fish oil supplier Ocean Nutrition Canada also welcomed the AHA statement as a “very positive step for improving consumers' understanding of the role of triglycerides in CVD management"​.

Source: Circulation
Published online ahead of print, DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0b013e3182160726
“Triglycerides and Cardiovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association”
Authors: M. Miller, N.J. Stone, C. Ballantyne, et al.

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1 comment

Lowering triglycerides

Posted by Geoff Steinicke,

I am 80 years and have been taking flaxseed oil for the past 25 years. About 6 months after taking FSO my blood triglycerides were less than half the average population's (AP)figure.
My arachidonic acid was one third of the AP.
My ALA and EPA were 4 times higher than the AP, but DHA was in the middle of the AP range.
I think EPA is the most important EFA as I think there is a two way switch between EPA and DHA.
I also kow there are 400 million Indian vegetarians. Where do they get their EPA and DHA? The EPA they would probably get from Mustard Seed oil but their DHA???
Let me say that these 400 million Indians show no signs of being mentally retarded.
So how do they get sufficient DHA?

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